What happens to your Twitter followers when you change jobs?

Twitter has been around long enough for some regular Twitterers to have changed jobs. If so, what happens to your Twitter followers when you change jobs?

Do all those who once followed you for your insights on one particular subject stick with you if your new job is in a different area? Or can you build up sufficient rapport with your followers so that they stick with you because of the quality of your conversation with your Twitter community? Or do they just follow so many people, the odd irrelevant one really does not matter?

I’ve asked Adrian Monck, Daniel Pearce and Edward Welsh, who’ve changed jobs recently, what happened to their followers. All three appear to think pretty much the same: as long as your Tweets are of sufficient interest and your approach to followers is not too self-conscious, followers remain remarkably loyal.

And if you’ve changed your job recently, do answer the questions yourself. There are instructions at the end of this post.

Adrian Monck is Managing Director, Communications and Media, for the World Economic Forum, the organisation which brings world leaders together to “shape global, regional and industry agendas”.

Previously he was Professor of Journalism at City University, London (see his Linkedin profile).

He Tweets @amonck.

When did you start Tweeting?

Twice. First time I just didn’t get it and gave up. 2nd time was in 2008, and since then I haven’t really stopped – which is terrible for my ratios.

How many followers did you have just before you changed jobs

I’d love to say I took notice but I didn’t really… and moving to an organisation with 1.5m followers, it all seemed like small beer. Besides, I never really pursued a follower strategy for my personal account beyond reciprocity with people who seemed real.

Did the followers belong to a defined community and, if so, what?

Couldn’t say. Mine are all sorts. Journos, media types of all shapes and sizes, and since I was followed by Michelle Malkin I get some rather wacky US conservatives. What they hope to find, goodness only knows – but life’s rich tapestry etc.

Has the subject of your Tweets changed since you changed jobs?

I have less time, so they’re a little less diverse. I’m mainly a link tweeter which makes me an anti-social social networker…

Did you change the people you followed and, if so, by what percentage?

Sorry didn’t do the math or maths…

Did you see any fall off in the number of your followers when you changed job?

Modest increases but probably percentage growth in my followers lower than twitter as a whole.

If not, why do you think it is that your original community still follows you?

It’s not really a community, more a pond. I just float on the surface with the rest of the erm… let’s call us “pond-life”!

Daniel Pearce is the editor of Travel Trade Gazette (TTG), a weekly newspaper for the UK travel industry. Previously he was managing editor of The Publican, a weekly newspaper for the UK pub and drinks industry (see his Linkedin profile).

He Tweets @DanielPearce.

When did you start Tweeting?

15 June, 2007. I was managing editor of the Publican, a business-to-business magazine for the licensed UK pub and drinks industry. After the first initial Tweet or two, I did not think I had time for such “frivolities”.

It took some cajoling at the beginning of 2009 to realise the full extent of the opportunity and to start Tweeting in earnest.

How many followers did you have just before you changed jobs?

I had 550 followers from across the pub and drinks industry, as well as some media followers (all professional, no friends – that’s not what Twitter is about for me).

Did the followers belong to a defined community and, if so, what?

Followers from across the pub and drinks industry, as well as some media followers (no friends – that’s not what Twitter is about for me).

Has the subject of your Tweets changed since you changed jobs?

Yes, I was mainly commenting on pubs and drinks, linking followers through to stories on thepublican.com. Now I mainly comment on travel issues and link to ttglive.com.

Did you change the people you followed and, if so, by what percentage?

I spent an evening, before I started the new job, going through the people I was following in the drinks and pub world and assiduously unfollowing them. I then, as assiduously, started following people in the travel industry.

Did you see any fall off in the number of your followers when you changed job?

I kept almost all my followers in the pub and drinks world and then gained a whole lot of new followers from the travel industry brining me up to 960 followers.

If not, why do you think it is that your original community still follows you?

I’ve always peppered the professional stuff with personal comments about my day and opinions on general stuff (ie the recent UK election). It’s not just a ‘hard sell’ of my professional life. And I think this sort of engaging content is the reason that I have held on to just about every one of my followers.

Edward Welsh is the Director of Corporate Affairs at the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC), the body which represents train operating companies in the UK. Previously he was programme director, media and campaigns, at the Local Government Association (see his Linkedin profile). Edward wrote about his experience of Tweeting in a guest post on this blog.

He Tweets @EdwardWelsh.

When did you start Tweeting?

2 December, 2008.

How many followers did you have just before you changed jobs

About 420.

Did the followers belong to a defined community and, if so, what?

Most were people involved in local government politics, journalists and other PR people.

Has the subject of your Tweets changed since you changed jobs?

Yes, because I have switched from local government to the railways. But many of the Tweets are similar (i.e. chronicling my visits to the BBC to accompany my chief executive for an interview on the Today programme).

Did you change the people you followed and, if so, by what percentage?

I have gradually reduced the number of people who I follow from local government but probably by only around 20%.

Did you see any fall off in the number of your followers when you changed job?

To my surprise, no.

If not, why do you think it is that your original community still follows you?

I hope that they continue to follow me because, while my core subject matter is about the railways and my organisation, I Tweet about many other issues which they consider interesting.


AND WHAT ABOUT YOU? Have you changed your job recently? Do you Tweet? Copy and paste the questions below into the comment section of this post and let others know you experience.

When did you start Tweeting?

How many followers did you have just before you changed jobs

Did the followers belong to a defined community and, if so, what?

Has the subject of your Tweets changed since you changed jobs?

Did you change the people you followed and, if so, by what percentage?

Did you see any fall off in the number of your followers when you changed job?

If not, why do you think it is that your original community still follows you?

Illustration: NodeXL Twitter Network Graphs: Social CRM by Marc_Smith.

Posted in Twitter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

David Cameron’s first speech as Prime Minister compared to Gordon Brown’s resignation speech

The word “government” was the most frequently used word in David Cameron’s first speech as Prime Minster, below, surprising for a politican who campaigned so hard to cut down the size of government. (I quickly Wordled* David Cameron’s first speech as Prime Minster.)

Gordon Brown’s resignation speech, however, was dominated by the word “country” rather than “society” or “community” as you might have expected.

Is this apparent reversal of roles a sign of the “new politics”? What do you think?

UPDATE: Interesting Tweet by @danbarker pointing out that “the verbs equally interesting”.

* A Wordle is a word cloud, a visual representation of the prominence of words in any speech or article. The bigger the word in the wordle, the more it was used by the speaker or writer.

Posted in Wordles | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Guest post: plan the end of your blog with the same care that you plan its beginning

It’s not the beginning of a blog you need to worry about, argues guest blogger Peter Moore, it’s how to end one that matters.

And just relax about closing it down. It may well give life to another, more vibrant project online.

You just need to know when to give a blog the red, amber or green light.

This is Peter’s second guest post for this blog. Peter blogs himself at My Digital Notebook.

In the beginning

At the time of writing this, the Internet is 27 years, two months, two weeks, four days, 10 hours and 26 minutes old, which is pretty much the same age that Kurt Cobain was when he shot himself, and more than old enough for us to start analysing some digital lifespans.

In this post I want to look at two things: firstly how long a blog (be it a personal one, a work one or of any other type) might last and, secondly, how long one should last.

Blogging (statistics)

In September 2008, Calson.com argued that ‘most blogs are abandoned soon after creation’  – with between 60% and 80% ‘abandoned within one month.’  Therefore it is fair to state that the majority have the lifespan of somewhere between that of an adult mayfly (one day) and a Greek Firefly (two months).

These figures are notoriously difficult to measure but they do give an impression of the speed at which new blogs are launched. And, if anything, their tiny lifespans reflect the ease with which one can be set up.

At the other end of the spectrum, only a very slender number of blogs have been going for around a decade and most of those which emerged as the most popular arrived on the shoulders of Web 2.0 in the five years that followed the Dot Com Crash in 2000.

A measured approach

This leaves us with a good few million blogs that are left in the middle: those that continue for more than just a few months but are unlikely to survive for, say, three or more years. With this in mind, a month or so ago I wrote that:

When it comes to blogs, it seems, far too many are launched with the assured expectation that they are going to roll gloriously onwards into infinity. Therefore many evolve to the same familiar rhythm – which often means beginning in an explosion of energy before generally trailing off into obscurity.

There is, of course, an alternative to this, and that is to plan the end of a blog with the same care that you plan its beginning. Better than being wedded to a single domain for evermore is having the freedom to progress from one digital project to the next: it helps to keep things fresh and to ensure that the content remains niche.

To demonstrate this, here are three of my old blogs: one stopped after five months, one paused after a year and a half and another, still rolling on.

Camervroom (September 2009 – January 2010)

For me, Camervroom is a good example of how a blog can be used to document an intense project over a short period of time. It lasted just five months and was comprised of around 80, often short, Posterous posts – all of which charted the preparation for, and the completion of, the Africa Rally at the end of last year.

A similar short term approach could be used for a business blog documenting a project, a journalist working on a particular story, a band on tour or for an academic journal. Always keep the end in sight.

El Villano (May 2008 – February 2010)

Many people will have something similar. El Villano was a first attempt that evolved in unexpected directions and served as my introduction to social media. In the end it became little more than an online home for magazine articles and now it is lying dormant like Mount Etna, with about the same chances of producing anything over the next couple of years.

My Digital Notebook (March 2010 – Present)

My Digital Notebook accompanies my job at a search agency in London and my role as a part time lecturer at City University. Good for recording new technologies, the occasional social media spat, ideas on the future (and observations on the past) of journalism and useful online tools.

Just like the two above, My Digital Notebook will run its course. And when the times comes, it will be just a matter of writing an explanatory post, gathering up my tools and going to try something a little different elsewhere.

POSTSCRIPT: Ourman in…
A great example of how a strong digital narrative and identity can be expertly constructed over time and across a number of different sites is with Steve Jackson.

He began blogging in 2004 with the Space Hardware Blog, before writing successive accounts of his travels (and subsequent settling down) in Hanoi, Nicaragua and Cameroon.

All told, these blogs form a cumulative digital autobiography that isn’t constrained by the boundaries of a single domain name or identity. For me it is a good example of where others might well get to as the Internet evolves and digital footprints become more vibrant and varied.

Photos: “Traffic lights in peppers” by buddhiko, “Red light” by lorentey, “steady” by polandeze, “Go” by tristanf.

Posted in Blogs, Guest post | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Five steps to revive your blog

You could not get me to log into this blog towards the end of last year. I had neglected it to such an extent that I dreaded to find out just how badly. Finally when I did, I was surprised.

From the dashboard of These Digital Times: monthly traffic to the blog. Note increase from January.

Traffic had not only continued while I had failed to post. It had  actually acquired an average daily rate. The reasons, as I looked into it, were clear. There was a  clear top ten of posts which attracts 40% of the traffic. People were finding the posts because of  links to them, they were on StumbleUpon or had achieved a high ranking on Google.
It was a big shock to me. I come from a traditional newspaper background. The recognition that people might be interested in posts that were not recent came as a surprise.
These Digital Times has a life of its own. My role is like the curator of an exhibition rather than creator of an exhibit. My job is to see what I can do to improve the existing exhibits and what I can add that fits into the existing collection.
In just one month, I  bought this blog back to life. And it was easier than I thought.
  1. Blogs are extremely forgiving: if, like me, some of your most regularly visited posts stretch back over a year, your blog has a life of its own. However much you neglect it, traffic will still come even without regular posts.
  2. Give up any addiction for traffic: I was like a junky after launching a post, slipping into my blog’s dashboard again and again to see how it was doing. And if someone Tweeted it out, I got even more excited. But I am now calmer. Daily or weekly visits are not a true sign of the interest in any one post.
  3. Re-examine where you have done well: now I realise why all those bloggers publish posts on their annual top ten. It encourages a blogger to re-examine what they have done well and what it is it about how you write that people like. For me, it is the lists on this blog that win every time (and here’s another one).
  4. Compete with your own top ten: set your goal as competing with yourself and not with others. Try to write posts that join the ranks of the blog’s top posts, not ones that boast a day’s traction or are Tweeted out.
  5. Prepare in advance: there’s something horrible about not having any ideas about what to write. But, worse for me, is having nothing ready to publish. So, sitting behind this blog, are two or three posts in various states of preparedness.
Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Why I am now learning more about social media from my family, friends and colleagues

When I started finding out about social media, I read the blogs  and followed the Tweets of leading practitioners. Their practicalities swiftly got me going.

Eighteen months later, I’ve got  a new circle of teachers and influencers. And this time they are a lot closer than Silicon Valley. They are my family, friends and colleagues who are influencing me because they do what they want with this social media kit without having read the blogs and followed Tweets like me.

So ask yourself? Are you so absorbed by the people in your Google Reader that you are neglecting to learn the lessons from those closer to home? Or, literally, at home.

Why I now learn from my family, friends and colleagues

  • They’re pragmatic: We people in social media spend most of our time blogging and Tweeting about….social media. But many of my family, friends and colleagues use it for their jobs or hobbies. They just aren’t interested in endless stuff about Google Wave or Apple’s Tablet. What they do want to know is how best to get what they want from this stuff. So they are experimenting and finding out new ways of doing things.
  • They reveal harsh truths: Assemble a hundred people in one room for a conference from most business sectors that have nothing to do with social media and do not be surprised if they are not Tweeting. Attend an industry event where people have Blackberries and do not be shocked when no one takes a photo. My family, friends and colleagues have taught me that, however easy the technology or the software, there just is not going to be mass adoption of this stuff. People want to listen at conferences and they want to chat at social events. We are going to have to get our heads around that unpalatable truth.
  • They self-promote: I have always been influenced by the sharing and caring philosophy of the early internet. I always believe that you get back only what you put into the web. But such great ideals do not wash with some of my family, friends and colleagues. To them, the internet is not some ideal but rather a means to an end. If they want to use social media for self-promotion, to push their message out, they will do so. And they don’t put their followers off since they are networking with people like themselves.
  • They interest me: My use if social networks changes over time. I’m going through a deep and intense renewal of my vows to this blog at the moment after months of philandering with Facebook. I’ve discovered that just as our loyalty to a social media channel is fickle, so our prefered teachers and influencers change over time. So I guess I’ll be getting bored of my family, friends and colleagues soon and will be returning to my first and former teachers any day soon.
  • They know me: When I headed out into the world of social media two years, there were some great new acquaintances but no one I knew. Sometimes it got lonely – just as you do if you are abroad on business. So one thing I really loved about my family, friends and colleagues getting online was to network with people I genuinely know. It makes it much more intense.
  • They owe me: God forbid that I sound bitter or anything but…I’ve put so much time and energy into encouraging and explaining social media to my family, friends and colleagues that it’s payback time. I deserve a little lesson-love.
  • Photo: Dan Taylor

    Posted in Social media, UBM | Leave a comment

    Why a Google Profile is essential

    What do you link to on your Twitter or email signature? Do you link to your blog or your Linkedin profile? Or what about your work website or perhaps even your Facebook?

    I used to link to my blog on Twitter and my work email. Then the blog went through a long period of neglect. I also began to think that the social media subject of the blog was too narrow to reflect what I did as a digital director.

    So I replaced a link to my blog with a link to my company’s website. But my professional network is very diverse with many different type of people from non-traditional media backgrounds communicating with me in many different channels. A link to a corporate website just did not feel right.

    A brief encounter

    Finally I stumbled on my Google Profile. I’ve had one for months but never quite knew why I had one. One day Alex Wood began following me on Twitter. I went to check out his profile as I tend to block followers whom I deem mismatched, however great they might be. Alex had linked to his Google Profile which was not just full of detail but listed a variety of links to both social networks and different kinds of websites.

    The benefits are clear. Five or six years ago, your email was good enough as a link. Three or four years ago, you might add something like Linkedin. But social media extends your network to so many different types of people on so many different channels that you have to find a way to cater for all of them. Or rather set yourself up on the web so they find you how they want to.

    Take my own job

    I’ve added corporate social responsibility to my job over the last two months. I’m using my social networks to find new contacts or revive old ones. NGOs and charities are pretty much up to speed with social media. We’re finding each other on Twitter, for example. Meanwhile my old mates in travel, an industry with a long history of CSR activity, are all on Facebook. The cosy past when a link to a company website after your email signature was good enough has come to an end.

    So now both my Twitter, my work and private email are linked to my Google Profile.

    What do you link to?

    Photo: Paleontour

    Posted in Links | Tagged , | 1 Comment

    Another five reasons why companies should get into social media

    moneyCompanies are not using social media just to interact better with their customers or clients. They are increasingly doing it to engage with their own staff, according to research released last week by Melcrum, the internal communications research and training company.

    In the article  Research reveals widespread adoption of social media within the firewall, the study shows that

    “The business benefits of investment in social media highlighted included improved levels of employee engagement (21%), better communication with remote workers (16%), knowledge management and collaboration (25%), improving employee feedback (20%) and making business leaders more visible and accessible (14%).”

    Melcrum’s study adds to a growing body of research about the benefits of social media to companies. Social media platform Wetpaint and digital consulting firm Altimeter Group’s research published in Media Post over six months ago. It found that companies with high levels of social media activity increased revenues by 18% in the last 12 months on average, while the least active saw sales drop 6% over that period.

    When I Tweeted out a link to Media Post at the time, I was reTweeted several times. So it got me thinking. Beside revenue, how many other reasons are there for companies to embrace social media? I came up with five more, one of which (no. 4) neatly overlaps with Melcrum’s new research. But how many can you think of?

    1. Social media gets colleagues addicted to the web

    For most regular employees, getting involved in their company’s website is most unlikely. Even journalists are often put off by antiquated content management systems. So it is difficult to see the relationship between their labour and success on the web. Social media activity changes all that. Just set up a Twitter (no six-month new-build programme), Tweet out some content (no news desks or PR departments to deal with) and see how people come to you.

    2. Educate your teams as to the value of a social media strategy

    Is social media the right strategy to deliver your business goals? You certainly should be asking yourself that question. If you are looking to build communities, for example, would it be best to set up a LinkedIn group? Should it be open or closed? What if you actually want to get you message out, should you use Twitter or set up a Facebook group? Can your colleagues or you really answer that question without having experimented with some sort of social media activity? And if you commission an outside consultant, can you brief that company without some exposure already?

    3. Attract the best and most creative employees

    The best and brightest of employees want to work with those companies that are the most forward-thinking and acting. A media company that fails to recognise the importance of social media is not going to come across as offering  its employees – old or new – much exposure to the skills required in the future. How can a bright spark find out if a potential employer is on the ball? Simple. Google the top management and see how well they are represented.

    4. Better communication within a company

    A company that encourages communication between its employees is always going to operate more effectively than one that does not do so. Social media would seem the ideal vehicle to increase the exchange of information on so many levels. Many of my senior colleagues have opened up their Facebook feeds to their colleagues, the interaction playing a role in keeping teams together. And if your company then introduces a Wiki, colleagues will already be sufficiently skilled in networking to use it. I’ve written about this on These Digital Times in a post called “Three ways to cultivate your community at work”.

    5. Escaping the silo

    And, finally, in these tough times, what could better than for any sales, marketing or editorial person to be able to escape from their traditional silo of contacts? Social networking per se is about extending and discovering new networks. What better way to find that new customer or client in these tough times?

    Photo credit: boorman818

    Posted in Social media | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

    The top ten posts of 2009 from These Digital Times

    Here are the top ten posts of 2009 from These Digital Times. Twitter and social media dominate – not at all surprising for a blog in this area.

    So what does the traffic tell us?

    1. The two blog posts about Twitter in the top ten make up just under 10 per cent of the entire year’s traffic.
    2. The top five posts represent just over 25 per cent of the entire year’s traffic while
    3. the top ten posts represent 40 per cent of the entire year’s traffic.
    4. All but ten of the 238 posts on this blog were looked at during 2009 although
    5. the least popular 20 posts only managed 30 views in all, the bottom nine posts only one view each.
    6. Three of the posts (if you include “About John Welsh”) date back to 2008, hammering home the point that people’s use of the web is blind to date but keen on relevance.
    7. Only two of the posts predate the moment when These Digital Times found its voice providing lists for those acquiring skills in social media, and even one of those (“What should a well design website look like”) can be seen as a list.
    8. Only one post (Tennis player Andy Murray’s Twitter goes dead!”) dates back to a time when I just used this blog to comment on what else was around. Little surprise that it is a famous tennis player’s name that keeps this post there.
    9. Look how high up “About John Welsh” is in the list. It reminds you not to neglect an often overlooked element of a blog.

    So the traffic follows the classic Pareto Distribution, a phrase used in economics to describe the typical distribution of wealth. This suggests that the wealthiest person in any town or country is likely to be twice as wealthy as the second most wealthy person who, in turn, is likely to be twice as wealthy as the third most wealthy person and so on. Such distribution, plotted on a graph, is a steep curve away from the vertical axis then continuing almost parallel to the horizontal.

    It is a distribution often seen in social media and digital. The activity of the most active member of any community, for example, is likely to be twice as much as the next most active and so on. And think also about something like Amazon where the most popular book is twice as popular as the second and so on.

    I’m rather chuffed that These Digital Times follows this pattern.

    Posted in Blogs, RSS feeds, Social media, Twitter | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

    A strategy for These Digital Times

    First some apologies.

    An apology to that colleague who recently said he had signed up to my blog. I did not have the heart to say that it had ground to a halt.

    Another apology to those reading Jeremy Porter‘s list of “91 Journalism Blogs and Websites You Will Love” who have clicked through to These Digital Times, as recommended, only to find the blog so out of date.

    And an apology to me for being tough on myself, first, for the months of work I put into this blog and, second, for the months of angst I gave myself when I didn’t.

    Let me give you some background to see if it can help you. And if not you, help me to restart my efforts.

    Early Days

    The original masthead for These Digital Times - from launch July 2008 to April 2009

    It was a casual conversation with another colleague at his leaving party that gave this blog a voice. He was going to have some time on his hands. I suggested he use the opportunity to get up to speed with social media. My email to him, listing some ideas, became “Six steps to get started in social media”. And a blog that rambled on about anything and everything for the seven months up to that point suddenly acquired a voice. These Digital Times, and the experience I gained through it, was a way to help my colleagues (pictured either side of me in the masthead) to acquire the knowledge and perhaps the skills necessary for new media. And the more I helped my colleagues in traditional media to understand new media, so These Digital Times became useful to all those grappling with similar issues.

    As soon as I had established these two goals (OK, I know you are supposed to do that BEFORE you start a blog), I then worked out very quickly my strategies to deliver that goal – a highly optimised headline, an often abstract illustration from Flickr’s Creative Commons and a list. I then backed it up with my recently activated social media activity on Twitter and Linkedin. The more I learned in public, revealing all faults and blemishes, the more the traffic came. The more counterintuitive I could be, the more people came back regularly.

    I reached a peak of what WordPress calls over 700 “views” in one day in February with such classics as “Six types of Tweets if you Tweet every day” (1970 views since posting in January),  “A list of 10 social media habits I am stopping immediately” (808 views in February 2009 with 343 of them in one day alone) or “A list of eight answers to the most commonly used excuses for not using the web” (18 views yesterday SIX months after it first appeared). Posts bookmarked on StumbleUpon had the longest shelf life  –  75% of my traffic or thereabouts, comes from StumbleUpon these days. Indeed the power of the bookmarker is so long-lasting that it makes Tweeting out a link to a blog post seem a short-term gain.

    For the truth is that a traditional journalist like me still finds it astonishing that the web has no concept of breaking news or shelf-life. If people are interested in a subject, and they appear to do so on my blog, then they will find this stuff whenever they wish –  days, weeks or months after its appearance. (Only last week, someone kindly Tweeted out a link to one of my blog posts nine months after I had posted it and only this morning someone else Tweeted out a link to a 14 month old blog post.) And if the content helps people to acquire new skills, then there will always be those who know less than you, even if you once knew less than them. I call this phenomena the Knowledge-Time Continuum.

    What came next?

    The next masthead - from April 2009 to December 2009

    So what happened next? Well first was my ability to extend my network, discovering and, in the process, learning from social media and new media experts. The overlay of practical experience  (actually writing the blog, commenting on others, putting in links) with the knowledge and wisdom generated by so many people made me a fast learner. It changed not only how I thought, literally rewiring my brain, but also what I looked like. The transformation was such it brought about the first change in masthead for this blog – see “On being John Welsh – why you need to change your social media identity to remain authentic”. Indeed I now look at the masthead for These Digital Times from that period (above)  and I see something that I had never seen in myself before. The photo (taken by Hollis Thomases in San Francisco) and the art work (by Claudia Moeller) suggests someone pretty much at ease in the world of social media.

    From a personal perspective, the masthead was spot on – I had acquired skills and moved on from those early days in social media. But from a professional perspective, the masthead had already become out of date. My job is much wider than just social media. Once I had acquired some of the skills of social media, it was time to assimilate those learnings, assessing social media merely as one of several types of strategies available to achieve digital goals. Social media was certainly not a goal in itself. My learning in public came to an end and silence ensued.

    And now?

    The new masthead for These Digital Times

    If lists about social media activity can be of use to so many people, it also hammers home the interest in the subject by so many companies concerned to catch up. How much more useful I might be if I can find a way to discuss other digital activities within a company like United Business Media. I felt relaxed to learn about social media in public without divulging anything sensitive about the business. Can I feel as comfortable discussing data, SEO and monitoring?

    Let’s see.

    Posted in Blogs, Social media | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

    Guest post: how cult YouTube directors can interest a young demographic in the issue of climate change

    Who better to write this blog post on Blog Action Day 2009 than my sister Cheryl Campbell?

    Cheryl is the executive director of tve, a charity that has been making films and documentaries about the environment for 25 years. Here she writes of her sons’ fascination for the cult YouTube videos of Eddsworld and Ted Crusty which  inspired her to work with the very same directors inviting them to give their take on climate change. What better way to appeal to a youngYouTube generation than to work with the stars of the medium.

    I like the subject of this post written for this blog on this day of all days.

    Blog Action Day 2009 focuses on climate change. These Digital Times is a blog dedicated to observing and supporting all our journeys from traditional to digital media. tve, a traditional maker of films about climate change,  launches something completely different using the tools of new media to get its message across. Cheryl’s post neatly brings all these elements together.

    Read what she has to say. Watch the videos.  And send a message to world leaders about climate change.

    Eighteen months ago I asked my young son to show me on YouTube what it was that (with all parental filters in place, of course!) was keeping him and his mates so fascinated, what it was that, when they got together as a group, made the computer more interesting than television or the XBOX.

    Last night, as a result of that fascinating tour of YouTube channels, tve launched A Million Views on Copenhagen, a series of short, quirky irreverent climate change videos produced by  – and for – the YouTube generation.

    tve, which is a UK based charity, has been making films and documentaries about the key environment and development challenges of our time for 25 years. Last year our films reached at least 300 million homes via global television broadcast and many more viewers via broadcasts on nearly 90 national and regional television channels. As you would expect, we are busy making films both long and short in the lead up to the crucial UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen in December.

    But how to connect with that younger “hard to reach” audience? Some of these cult YouTube producers have vast followings of on-line fans, including Eddsworld, Ted Crusty and Custard Productions. We decided to invite them to produce a series for us, to give us their individual takes on climate change in the run up to the conference in Copenhagen in December. They’re joined by Alisha Tuladhar, a 16 year old schoolgirl from Nepal, and Mike-Steve Adeleye, an award-winning Namibian animator.

    And we’ve been delighted with the results. Their films are exciting, innovative and engaging: a polar bear falling from the sky, plastic trees and a Lego campaigner against carbon tax are just some of the ways these members of the YouTube generation deliver their takes on climate change. It has been great to work with all the filmmakers: Edd Gould and Tom Ridgewell of Eddsworld, Mike Tapscott (Ted Crusty), Keshen Matus of Custard Productions, Mike-Steve Adeleye and Alisha Tuladhar. We thank them for sharing their creativity with us.

    And so far, from the comments mounting up on our YouTube channel, it looks as we are achieving what we as a charity set out to do – inspiring change – with plenty of entertainment mixed in. “That’s it! I’m plugging out my particle accelerator!” “Woot! Another hilarious eddsworld movie and this time it has a meaning” “haha loved it it made the message bout global warming clear in a funny way” “I better go turn off a light switch now” – let’s keep those comments coming!

    tve is not a campaigning organisation. But we often have most impact where we work closely with an organisation who knows how to take the interest and awareness we generate with viewers (be that through television or online) and turn it into action. In this our 25th year we’ve been delighted to partner with one of our founders, WWF, to give viewers of the series  that opportunity  ahead of Copenhagen. Viewers will be invited to Vote Earth and send a message to world leaders by clicking here and joining the call for a global deal on climate change at Copenhagen.

    We’re hoping to attract a million views to the series by December so please do click through to tve on YouTube , watch the films. And finally, none of this would have been possible without the support of the Artemis Charitable Foundation. I am hugely grateful to the Foundation for enabling us to reach new audiences with such an exciting and cutting edge series.

    Other UBM colleagues who have written for Blog Action Day 2009 are Anthony Hildebrand, Brian Sims, Ron Alallouf, Phil Clark, Grahame Morrison, Rob Enslin and Ed Sexton.

    blog action day 2009

    Here is a link to my contribution to Blog Action Day 2008.

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