Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Social Media Puzzle: Piece #7 Where is social media heading?

Social media is changing fast. Facebook buys Instagram. Google+ changes its look and feel, again. Twitter gets more visual and is used to assess the public mood and soon it will help predict riots and stock market rallies.

All these are real stories in the past few months. Try searching for #socialmedia stories on Twitter and you will be assaulted by wave after wave of developments in social media. Every minute.

But where will all this lead us? I see three clear trends, each of which could lead to big developments:

1. The visual web. Instagram video, Google glasses and local YouTube2 feeds will allow us to travel almost anywhere and experience everything as ultimate-voyeurs, but beyond that expect artistic photojournalism, fashion fabrics that change colour, people tracking, your visual life on a site, celebrity holograms at your local fashion outlet and rebranding sites that will let you see how you might appear with a few nicks and tucks.

2. The auto posting trend. Expect your phone to auto post your location to Eightsquare, your preferences from your GoogleGlasses2 to your life-blog and your audio-to-text tweets to Twitter2. Going beyond that we will be tracked by location posting sites for curfew, remote working and spouse spying applications.

3. The digital divide. The erosion of the middle class will lead to a divide between those of us who pursue hourly deals on energy and fuel and Bigger Mac deals and those few of us who need hologram security services, auto-taser fencing and  helicopter extraction from urban locations. Security zones will extend to elite stores, clubs and hotels, all invisible to the rest of us by their anonymous exteriors.

Much of the above will happen before 2020. If you want to create a start-up focusing on what we will be the number one social media brand in that year, consider incorporating some of the above elements.

To support this site - over 60 free posts so far on social media for you to explore - please buy one of my novels, The Istanbul Puzzle or The Jerusalem Puzzle or my guide to social media. And enjoy!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hand selling with social media

I believe we are in a new age of hand selling or screen selling (screlling?). I have heard it said that one of the main benefits of meeting a good sales person is that you can have items recommended to you. You can also get to see their faces.

But social media allows you to meet and greet individual buyers and answer their questions from all over the world. I get about 2000 hits a day from many countries.

The main benefits of screlling are IMO:

* You can meet people from all over the world and communicate with them. Google Translate means you can even talk to people in many languages.

* You can engage long term with people, answering different questions over time and building up relationships.

* You can keep a track of people's names or identities so you can tell them when your new product or service comes out.

* You don't have to waste time and money travelling around and you won't get wet if it's raining.

The downsides are:

* You mightn't make make strong connections with people, as you don't get to meet people personally. However I believe it takes more than one physical meeting to make friends with people. Multiple meetings and shared interests are just the start. And long term social media friendships can be meaningful too.

* You don't get to see the cool sunsets from a different town.

And that's it, is it?

Ok, here's your challenge. Can you tell me what other downsides there are to not meeting customers for smaller value items? Aside from missing the smell of the fish, that is!

Thanks! I hope you enjoy these posts and I hope you can  tell me about other downsides I may have missed.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Social Media Puzzle: Piece #6 Can social media bring about social change or not?

There are a number of commentators who belittle social media as an agent of change. I disagree with that view.

For me social media is as much an instrument of change as radio was in the 2nd world war. It is simply a means of mass communication - a some-to-many communication system where about 10% of users create about 90% of the volume.

As for creating social change, the facts are that during the week President Mubarak resigned the number of tweets about political change increased ten fold in Egypt. That fact was taken from a study by a Professor Howard at the University of Washington reported here.

In addition videos featuring protest and politics were watched over 5 million times and the amount of online content about the political situation increased dramatically.

And at the time of the Tunisian revolution 20% of blogs were discussing the president, Ben Ali.

This wave of communication about social change spread throughout the region creating movements in a wide variety of Arab countries. Governments tried to crack down on social media in the region, but that seems only to have created a greater urge for information.

Now, it is true that we do not know how the new governments of Libya, Tunisia and Egypt will perform in the long run for their citizens, but to deny that social media acted as a communication tool, which aided change seems willfully blind.

Before this period the despotic governments in Arab countries seemed immovable. Now everyone in the region knows that social change is possible. Social media helped to make that a reality.

To support this site - over 60 free posts so far on social media for you to explore - please buy one of my novels, The Istanbul Puzzle or The Jerusalem Puzzle or my guide to social media. And enjoy!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Social Media Puzzle: Piece #5 Is there evidence that social media is worth all this time?

There has been a constant drum beat in the media over the past few years of Luddite criticism of social media. They claim that it is all a waste of time, that social media is banal and trivial.

For those of us who value technology there has to be more than blind faith to counter such views. Fortunately, a recent scientific study has shown that social media is linked to increased intelligence.

The study, by a team at Trinity College, Dublin, replicated the evolution of social interaction over 50,000 generations. It claims to have found a link between sociability and intelligence.

Professor Andrew Jackson and research student Luke McNally conducted the research. They used neural networks and games to simulate how humans interact in society and learn.

The findings will be published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the biological sciences journal of the Royal Society in London.

My personal view is that social media forces cooperation and openness. To do otherwise on social media would lead to being flamed as a troll. Cooperation and openness lead to increased learning, as your reading of this article illustrates, which will inevitably leads to increased intelligence.

Whether I can claim that reading this blog leads directly to increased intelligence is probably a step too far though! I don't think every Tweet or post is symbol of progress, but there are enough positive ones, I believe, to make it obvious that social media is of benefit to humanity overall.

To support this site - over 60 free posts so far on social media for you to explore - please buy one of my novels, The Istanbul Puzzle or The Jerusalem Puzzle or my guide to social media. And enjoy!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Interactivity on social media

Getting people to engage with you, to contribute to your blog or your Facebook page is an important element in getting social media right. Why? Because people are more likely to remember you and come back if they engage.

But how can you get people to engage?

1. Ask for participation often. Let people comment anonymously and by using their social media identities if they prefer.

2. Make engagement the centerpiece of the post or for a period on your site. Ask people to post their own links and to talk about what they do. Sure, you will get some people putting up advertising, but if the links are too much you can always simply delete the ones that breach your guidelines.

3. Ask people to post images. You can run a contest for the best photo of your product in a strange situation for instance.

4. Ask for text contributions or submissions of some type to win a review or some other real prize.

5. Build community in from the start. Facebook group are a perfect example of that. Start a group. People know what's expected on LinkedIn and Facebook groups and on other sites with groups or tribes.

6. Make your post about a burning issue. Take a stand and ask for contributions. Make it about something important and up to the minute and make your contribution genuine and open.

7. Be persistent. Don't give up if it's difficult at the start. Give it a reasonable amount of time, but don't forget to move on too, if you need to. Social media is about balancing experimentation with persistence.

In the spirit of this post, please make your own suggestions below as to how to improve interactivity and post a link to your own site so we can see what you do and visit you.

To support this site - over 60 free posts so far on social media for you to explore - please buy one of my novels, The Istanbul Puzzle or The Jerusalem Puzzle or my guide to social media. And enjoy!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Social Media Puzzle: Piece #4 What do you measure in social media?

 Here are 12 suggestions for what to measure in social media:

  1. Sentiment analysis – how many negative comments and positive comments are there about you or your service - in actual and percentage terms.

  1. Tone – on a 3 or 5 or 7 point scale of how positive/negative, enthusiastic/couldn't care/disgusted posts are.

  1. Influencers – the numbers of high "follower ratio" followers you have & their engagement levels with you.

  1. Demographics – traditional measures of geographic, age, sex, status, interests of your followers.

  1. Sub communities – number and types of sub communities spawning around your main social media presence. If you make cakes these could be chocolate cake lovers, gluten free users etc. 

  1. Base statistics on follower numbers, unfollower numbers, retweetes, messages, posts for each platform including smaller/up and coming platforms such as Pinterst/Flickr, Forums, LinkedIn, YouTube blogs, etc, depending on which you focus on.

  1. New markets, new trends, new topics emerging from conversations with customers and prospective customers.

  1. Competitor activity, sentiment & other key metrics for your competitors.

  1. Theme clouds – what are they key topics, popular words and phrases that are bubbling up and falling away among key communities.

  1. Keyword tracking – do you have key words? How are they doing? Raw numbers and patterns of change.

  1. Internal benchmarking – How are divisions/branches doing compared to each other on key metrics? How are things changing over time? 

  1. External benchmarking - How do your stats compare with peers, competitors?
To support this site - over 60 free posts so far on social media for you to explore - please buy one of my novels, The Istanbul Puzzle or The Jerusalem Puzzle or my guide to social media. And enjoy!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Socmephobia - The Fear of Social Media

Socmephobia! What's that?

It's social media phobia. Socmephobes are people who don't want anything to do with social media, Twitter, Facebook or all the other blogs and picture sites and online networks that hundreds of millions of us are now using, and which are likely to become the driving force in the cultural and corporate spheres in the coming decades.

You can identify socmephobes by their instant dismissal of all things social media. They will deride blogs, dismiss Twitter and deny that Facebook has any relevance. Canute-like they sit by the shore and order the oncoming waves of social media back. Then, when their screens fall dark, they will deny the sea of social media has any importance at all, because they can't see it.

Kiing Canute
The history of this cultural/psychological disorder can be traced back to when the inventors of the wheel were laughed at, the inventors of the spinning loom were attacked, and the wearers of mini skirts dismissed as agents of the devil.

If you identify a socmephobe in your office or home there are a number of treatments you can use to help those afflicted:

1. You can create a Facebook page for them and connect them to members of their extended family so that  they can see pictures of family events and read news from family and friends.

2. You can ask them about their interests, and let them see people in those areas' Twitter feeds, blogs or YouTube Channels.

3. You can get them to talk about their fear, and take notes, for if you find out anything that will make you want to run, you may need evidence for any subsequent investigation.

In the event that you are confronted by a group of socmephobes I advise checking where the nearest exit is first, then using the opportunity to observe a cultural phenomena as if you were an anthropologist studying a dying tribe on a remote island.

The self reinforcing rituals of the group should be documented and recorded and, of course, posted on your blog/Facebook page, with a link on Twitter, so we can all enjoy your observations.  

This post has been submitted as a public service announcement.

To support this site - over 60 free posts so far on social media for you to explore - please buy one of my novels, The Istanbul Puzzle or The Jerusalem Puzzle or my guide to social media. And enjoy!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

On images taking over the interweb

Images work!
  • On Facebook, videos are shared twelve times more than text posts and links combined
  • Photos are Liked twice as much as text only updates
  • 42% of all Tumblr posts are pictures
  • Pinterest, the photo-driven social media phenomenon, is now referring more traffic than Twitter, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn and Google Plus
We may see a visual split soon, where ebook readers allow easy reading of text and many other sites go mostly visual. Is your site visual or are you ignoring the elephant in the room?

To support this site - over 60 free posts so far on social media for you to explore - please buy one of my novels, The Istanbul Puzzle or The Jerusalem Puzzle or my guide to social media. And enjoy!

Monday, August 27, 2012

A radio interview about the power of social media to do good

In the interview with Dave Fanning on Ireland's national RTE2FM station I argued that social media is a force for good.

I believe the openness and transparency that is forced on us by being involved in social media are a huge long term cultural benefit. Corruption, trickery and fraud are all exposed by openness and transparency.

In Ireland we have suffered too much from all these ills.

I know social media is no magic wand, which will change us all overnight, but slowly, with each post, the veil of secrecy is lifted, just a little.

Listen to some of this argument in this ten minute interview here.

To support this site - over 60 free posts so far on social media for you to explore - please buy one of my novels, The Istanbul Puzzle or The Jerusalem Puzzle or my guide to social media. And enjoy!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

AS/MS is growing! New projects and clients:

In the past month Advanced Social/Media Services, your global social media consultancy, has picked up a number of new clients and projects.

First off, we ran a one day course at the Irish Writers Centre July 14th, which was so oversubscribed a second one day course was organised on August 11th to deal with the overflow. Both courses were very well received with many compliments from participants and the centre. They were a wonderful experience for all and had a wide mix of people taking part in a very practical workshop.

Second, we have been invited to run an 8 week one-evening-a-week course at the Centre for Creative Practice in Dublin on How to Get your Work noticed from September 19. Details here. I look forward to working with people from all backgrounds to help them get the most from social media in the most creative ways possible.

Third, we have new clients for our consultancy including a leading Irish diamond jeweler, Turkey's most prominent event management company and one of Ireland's leading publishing companies. In addition our contract to manage a blog for a London property agency has been extended.

Fourth, our guide Social Media is Dynamite is nearing completion and will be available in September from Amazon. If you want to read a pre-publication copy for free email: lpob at All we ask in return is that you reply with some comments on what you thought. This offer will close at the end of August 2012.

Below is an image of the 5 star hotel in Istanbul where our events management client in Turkey holds many events. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Supercharging social media with storytelling techniques: #12 Subplots

Subplots are additional threads to a story, which add depth and allow you to weave complexity into what otherwise might be seen as one dimensional. They are a staple of novels and TV programs.

The technique of using sub plots can also be used in social media posting. For instance:

1. If you are posting from a bakery you can talk about "typical" customers, a woman with a birthday party, a man getting bread early in the morning for his family, a young man buying cakes for his girlfriend.

2. If you are a large business, say a bank, you can also talk about "typical" and anonymous customers by giving examples of clients the bank helps, and the practical examples of how your products and services help clients.

3. If you are an artist you can talk about your struggles to find the right paints or tools of some kind.

4. If you are a designer you can talk about the trips you make to visit suppliers. I am sure we would all love to hear about how they make silk in China these days, for instance.

Sub plots is probably one of the easiest ways to post about what you do. Many people are doing it already.

This series of posts were written to provide a structure and theory around the post types people create.

There are now 12 on the subject of storytelling techniques. I will switch to a different series from Monday, when I will be back from a weekend break.

The next series will be about puzzles & mysteries in the area of social media. I hope you have a great weekend.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Social Media in practice #2: An update: SM 4 a London premium property site

This post is the second in a series about putting social media theory into practice.

A small premium property agency in London has been looking to update their web site. Over a two day period I created the following blog:

It features a listing of properties prominently and is almost a crossover between a property listing site and a blog.

I then created two Twitter accounts - this is one:

This post is an update on the results in the past two weeks. 

The blog/web site has had 263 views in two weeks. The best day was last Thursday, when 40 views were recorded. Here is a listing of where people have come from who viewed the site over the last few weeks:

Two Twitter accounts will slowly follow people interested in property in London. Already, within two weeks, they have 627 followers. A few of these will be likely clients. I don't expect much of a return for the time involved in setting all this up, Tweeting daily, and reporting on it all, until about three months has passed 

The Twitter account tweets a 50% mix of links to the Allytta blog and 50% London/property industry news.

The main benefits so far are probably more about good client relationships, but I do expect real business to be generated from the site and Twitter feeds soon. What do you think?

Come back here each month and I will update you on progress on this real life example of the use of social media for an SME business in the UK.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Social Media in practice #1: A London premium property site & Twitter feed

There are lots of great posts about social media theory. This post is the 1st in a series about putting the theory into practice.

A small property agency in London has been looking to update their web site. They have been getting few hits on their traditional site, and have to advertise offline and online to drive telephone calls to their offices and increase sales of their rental properties and for sale properties.

Over a 2 day period I created the following blog:

It features a listing of properties prominently and is almost a crossover between a property listing site and a blog.

I then created a Twitter account:

The parts that took up most of the two days were deciding on the Wordpress template, I tried four before picking that one, getting the most out of the template options, and putting all the images into the right format.

The Twitter account will slowly follow people interested in property in London. Already, within 6 days, it has 106 followers. A few of these will be likely clients.

The Twitter account tweets a 50% mix of links to the Allytta blog and 50% London property industry news.

Some say this should be a 25% ads to 75% news mix, but with the people the Twitter account is following being interested in property and there being no question that this is a celebrity site suddenly pushing cola - a bait & switch technique. I think such a percentage is reasonable. The Allytta Twitter account is 100% up front about what  you should expect if you follow it.

It will be some time, 3 months I have suggested to the property agency owner, before we know what impact such a linked social media to blog/site will have on sales. Come back here each month and I will update you on progress on this real life example of the use of social media for an SME business in the UK.

Now, the fact that it only took me two days to set up a reasonable looking site and social media strategy for a small business made me think about a few things:

1. Why do some web design agencies charge so much for sites?

2. Why are there still so many static web sites, which are not using Twitter to reach out to potential clients?

3. What else should I be doing for Allytta to show them the practical benefits of social media?

I have considered Facebook & LinkedIn options, and they will probably come in a few months, so it is really other ideas I am hoping you might contribute for us all.

Pinterest, if we have some great pics of some of the apartments with flowers and lovely meals on the table would be nice, I think, but would it generate sales?

What do you think? What have I missed? What social media strategy do you think works?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Supercharging social media with storytelling techniques: #10 Romance!

Romance, how the hell am I going to involve romance in a technique for social media?

Can you guess?

Romance can be used in a social media context. Romance is often either the main plot or a subplot in most popular movies, TV shows and books. Isn't it time social media postings included a little romance too?

We can use a little romance, a little bit of emotional openness, to engage blog readers and post readers. Here's a few examples:

1. Offer a 2 for 1 price on dinners at your restaurant, on the day you met your wife.

2. Similarly, you can offer romantic weekends, 2 for 1 gym memberships, his and hers perfume deals/jewelry deals or chocolates with books and flowers or whatever fits in with what you are involved in, on a special day for you, or a member of staff or whenever suits you.

3. Respect the power of love with links to romantic poetry, books or movies, at special times for you or others.

4. Celebrate family and/or couples with images pages on Pinterest or Flickr for anniversaries, special occasions etc. You can make these open only to people you know, if you are worried about privacy.

5. If you are a big stuffy corporate you can post images from any family day or barbecue event or wedding event you are involved with. Start by posting these on an internal private blog or Twitter account, as part of your internal social media program, and occasionally you might let the public see what is going on, if participants agree to the images going out.

Use a little of the magic of romance to spice up your posts occasionally and watch people come back for more.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Auto posting - chocolate cake on special today!

Your cake is here:

Chocolate cake and auto posting

Facebook has, at last, introduced a feature called scheduled posts, for Pages only. This will allow people to decide when their posts will appear on their Page timeline. Watch for the clock symbol on the post and click year, then month, then day and time. You will be able to post up to six months ahead.

This has a number of practical benefits. For people like me who get up at 5AM and create posts early it will mean a post can be delayed until a more suitable time, or even for when I'm away trying to make some real money.

Such practical benefits will lead to fundamental changes on Facebook and also, eventually, on Twitter, blogs and every other social site. The idea that you have to hit the "post" button yourself will go out of fashion. The era of the auto post has arrived.

Sure, third party auto posting services have been available for years. I use Buffer to schedule Tweets during the day. But when Facebook and Twitter finally get around to allowing posts to be scheduled tens of millions will use their service. Setting up a stream of auto posts will allow people to Tweet and post more often too. And it will force people to think about what they're posting.

And it will lead to auto posts from devices, such as fridges.

And soon the parking meter will Tweet that it's free, if you've signed up for the coffee shop's posts.

And then your Ford will auto-post where you've parked to your friends on Google+, while you're on your way to the coffee shop.

And all that because the coffee shop fridge auto-Tweeted a special 70% off deal on chocolate cake an hour before closing. 70% off!

The temptation will be hard to resist, won't it? Would you like a bite? It's soft and crunchy all at the same time.

Chocolate cake and auto posting

Your imagination is the only thing that will stop you enjoying it.

Who said they don't like auto posting?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Supercharging social media with storytelling techniques: #9 The Cliff Hanger

Everyone who reads popular fiction and watches TV knows what a cliff hanger is. It's literally cutting away from the story as the hero hangs from a cliff. The reader is hooked into reading on, fast, to find out what happens. Every genre uses the cliff hanger, so don't think it's just a pulp fiction technique either. Some are just more subtle about it than others.

But can the cliff hanger be used for social media posts? I suggest yes. In fact I recommend it as a way to keep people involved and coming back.

So how can you use it? Well, it will take a little thought, but with a dash of openness I am sure you can come up with some real cliff hangers about what you do. For instance try talking about:

1. The uncertainty about how many chocolate cakes will sell every day, when you need to sell 10 a day to do well.

2. The uncertainty about the features of a new product.

3. The uncertainty about your annual results.

4. The uncertainty about how many people will come to your exhibition.

5. The uncertainty about how a performer will perform at your club next Saturday.

6. Are you going to sell five million or ten million copies of your new book?

7. Are you going to become number 1 in your industry, at last?

With a little ingenuity I am sure you can come up with some real uncertainties, which aren't about any lack of confidence, but are playful, and which are honest too. Good luck and let me know if you have managed to create any.

You may not want to literally hang from a cliff, but a little uncertainty is good in life. For instance, what will this blog cover next? I hope you come back to find out.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Supercharging social media with storytelling techniques: #8 Using your senses

Sight, taste, sound, smell and touch are the 5 senses that connect us to the world. When you read about them the written world comes alive, and engagement increases.

But can you use senses in social media?

Here are five short post examples to whet your appetite:

1. The electric blue of our new logo was chosen to illustrate our speedy delivery.

2. You can taste success, champagne and lobster, if you choose our early bird special.

3. The silence in our service office is not just because of the few calls we get, it's also because our dedicated staff are focusing on helping clients.

4. The smell of coffee in our new staff canteen is wonderful!

5. When you touch our new shoes you will understand the pleasure our high quality leather brings.

I know you won't be able to use each of your senses every day, or anything like that, but thinking about incorporating sensory information in your posts, either small or as a jump off point for a larger post, will expand the range of things you talk about and increase engagement with readers by connecting you with their senses.

Think senses when you are looking around for something else to post about.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

7 interesting social media stats for 2012

1. The number of blogs globally in April 2010 was 135 million. The number of blogs globally in April 2012 was estimated at 198 million (

2. 80% of 18-29 year olds are using social media in the United States in 2012.

3. 50%+ of the UK population have a Facebook presence in 2012. 25-34 year olds are the largest group.

4. 58% of Fortune 500 companies have Facebook pages in 2012.

5. The number of Twitter users more than doubled in the UK from 2011 (12 million) to 2012 (26 million).

6. 62% of Fortune 500 companies have active Twitter accounts in 2012.

7. 81% of B2B marketeers found online marketing moderately or extremely challenging in early 2012.

Social media is not going away, if anything it is embedding deeper into our social and economic lives.

And it's challenging too.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Supercharging social media with storytelling techniques: #7 Point of View

Point of view is about whose eyes are observing what happens in your posts, whether long or short.

And don't assume that all this is if no importance to social media. It is. Here are some point of view options to think about. At the very least they should give you ideas for new posts. For the purpose of this post let's assume the Tweeting party is a small town bakery:

1. Omniscient, "Everyone loves chocolate cake. This bakery has the best in a hundred miles." An omniscient narrator claims knowledge over every corner of our world. Considered out of date these days in fiction, you can still use it, with some tongue-in-cheek attitude.

2. First person. "I love chocolate cake. We make the best chocolate cake for a hundred miles." You will typically create a character for this point of view, through whom the posts will be made. The character could be you or a fictional character who will sometimes voice some often unspoken thoughts to liven things up.

3. Second person point of view. "You will love our chocolate cake." Rarely used in fiction, but often used in songwriting, second person has a place in social media. You can use this point of view to ask people to follow you - "you can follow our chocolate baking video feed here," or get people to ask questions using this point of view - "you are welcome to ask any question you like about how we make our cakes". You can also alternate with first person in which you alternate between "you" and "I" posts, highlighting possible comparisons in views.

4. Third person point of view, which uses he, she, it and they. "He will love our chocolate cake." The commonest point of view in fiction, third person can range from close-third, such as the post above, where you assume you know the thoughts of the person you are speaking about and distant third, "She sure might like our chocolate cake," where you don't claim to know the inner thoughts of whoever you're speaking about. The narrator here, the person who is making these claims about chocolate cake, can be visible or invisible. If they become visible they start to interject with their own views

Social media generally requires a reliable voice or narrator, but comedy posts "Ours is the best chocolate cake in the whole world!" can take a less reliable turn.

Video games are generally 1st person these days, but social media can accommodate multiple point of view in posts. I hope you enjoyed this one!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Supercharging social media with storytelling techniques: #6 Spilling your guts!

It takes guts to be a writer. Readers can smell, straight from the page or the screen, when someone is being honest as a writer. Putting in the corny details, the wrenching feelings. the human foibles, makes a novel or any piece of writing readable and engaging.

But can you use this technique in social media? I believe you can. Sure, you don't have much room in a Tweet, but it is amazing what you can get across in a few sentences. For instance:

"Everyone in marketing is excited this morning. The new intern made coffee twice! The new SXC is being launched at 5pm."

as against the bland:

"The new SXC is being launched at 5pm."

You can dig deep too, reveal something about the drama of business as you blog and Tweet and post. Keeping it bland is a recipe for loosing your readers. I understand there's a difficult line to tread between being open and being too open, but I encourage you to push that line as far as possible towards openness.

If you take a few gambles and the boss is happy with it you can develop an engaging style that will see people come back for more, just to find out what's happening in your corner of the world.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Why is a thriller writer creating a blog about social media?

I live in Dublin, Ireland. My 1st thriller, The Istanbul Puzzle, came out Jan 19 in the UK. In 2 months it has sold into 8 large publishers across Europe. Within the next year it will be published in 20 countries. The Istanbul Puzzle is the 1st in a new series of contemporary mystery novels. My publisher is Harper Collins. It is available (click here) with free delivery to the US of A, UK and most other countries in the world.

I am writing about social media because:

1. Social media helped me out of the slush pile.

2. I've been interested in technology for as long as I can remember.

3. I've worked for software (SaaS), hardware and IT services companies over twenty years.

I won a 3 book contract on the strength of my writing, but also because I had built a successful blog, had 5,000 Twitter followers and had created short book trailers you can still see on YouTube.

I now have 30,000+ followers including a sizable presence on Google+, Goodreads, Flickr, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.

I am creating this social media blog for 2 reasons:

1. I believe social media is going to change the world in the way the PC did 20 years ago. It is forcing us to be more open as individuals and organisations. Openness is the oxygen social media needs to survive. It will also allow people and organisations opportunities that in the past have not been available.    

2. Because the craft of writing provides real techniques that can be used by people who want to succeed in social media. Building engagement, followers and creating interest in what you write are things that popular writers have always had to do if they want to succeed. I spent 12 years learning this craft.

Please follow this blog if you want to stay in touch with the progress of what will eventually become a comprehensive guide.

And all the best with your own social media. I want to see what you are doing and hear what you think of my efforts. On the day this blog was launched publicly it got 400+ viewers. It's a good start. All the best. Laurence

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

So many things to Tweet about!

Here is a link to a list of 42 things to Tweet about:

If you prefer shorter lists, something you can get fast, here's my list of 5 things to Tweet about:

1. Something interesting you or your organisation is doing, or an event in your lives.

2. A blog post, Facebook page or other post you have created.

3. A reply to an interesting post, mention or retweet that someone else created.

4. Something funny, a quote, a joke, a comment.

5. Something serious, a quote, a saying, a comment.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Twitter is King

For those of you who think there is no money in social media you should be aware that Twitter's ad revenue is expected to be $259 million in 2012 and $540 million in 2014.

One million new Twitter accounts are being created every day at this time.

Here are the main reasons people will retweet what you say:

People polled say they retweet:

Value add content - 92%
Because of a personal connection to the original Tweeter - 84%
Because they thought the Tweet was funny - 66%
Because there was an incentive given in exchange - 32%
Because there was a request made - 26%
Because the Tweet came from a celebrity - 21%

For more similar stats and the full article this material is taken from see:

Friday, January 20, 2012

Even Beer companies get it!

Apparently Heineken, the top 3 beer company, has 6 million Facebook followers. Skol has 3.5 million and Bud has 2.5 million.

If beer companies get it, and Heineken has some cool apps and games on its page, things are moving on. Forget staying still. If you want to survive you will have to get social media too.

Here is the link to the full story about what all the top beer firms are doing in detail:

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Welcome to Social Media is Dynamite

The purpose of  this blog is to condense the truck loads of verbiage around social media.

Social media can wreck  your personal life and wreck your career. That's why it's dynamite.

But the explosive power of social media can be harnessed.

This blog and the associated book, to be published this summer, will help you do that.

Whether you buy the book or not I hope you get something from this blog.

All the best,

Laurence O'Bryan - author, dreamer, social media addict.