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Travelling…

Now I’ve discovered a reliable WiFi connection, thank you Chinatown 2 Hotel, and my stomach has settled down as well as my sunburn turning bronze, I really think I could get used to this travelling lark long term.

Yes, I’m a little uncertain about the water here and I’m think the K Pop addiction Claire and I have developed may wear off, but we’re pretty good at haggling now, eating cheap street food, as opposed to refuelling in the decadent surroundings of The Breeze at The Dome (where Hangover 2 was filmed) in Bangkok, where the food was average, and repacking our stuff every couple of nights.

However, the dream job I want where I can work from wherever I want to in the world, helping SMEs with Social Media, still eludes me, so it’s homeward bound in a few days.

I have holiday plans for next year all sorted though, so I’m pretty pumped about planning all that.

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Street Food: Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Claire was pretty insistent that we try some street food this evening and as money is running low it seems like a sensible option economically.

The first place we stopped had vats of oily liquids bubbling away and only a limited choice of menu options, all of which included some sort of unspecified sliced fish. I turned up my nose. Then we thought we’d found a food court, but it turned out to be a shopping centre consisting mainly of phone shops, a McDonalds and some kind of budget TGI Friday’s called Kenny Rogers. Kenny’s didn’t appeal, but then we happened upon Johnny’s Stall when back on the road. So here we are eating rice and noodles with chilli sauce for about £1 and it’s actually pretty good. I could murder a beer though.

We also found on our street side table some banana leaf packages wrapped in newspaper. Intrigue got the better of us and we tentatively opened one to reveal a pile of rice topped with some sort of dark chilli jam with a boiled egg and small fish nestled next to it. We were informed it was coconut rice. It was not. It seemed like regular sticky rice. Claire demolished it. She’s fussy about the contents of her McDonald’s cheeseburger, but she’ll eat obscure packets of rice that have been sitting around for an unspecified amount of time.

We continued to watch with awe as the woman at the hot plate created a roti containing banana and Milo. Roti for breakfast maybe?

20120904-234157.jpg

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Arriving in Malaysia

So, I’m travelling again, sort of. It’s only for a fortnight and I wish I’d written all along, but I’ll trying and catch you up in my glorious ad-hoc style. I am typing this on my iPhone and have simultaneously rammed myself in the stomach with my trolley. If the handle is not depressed the brakes come on. The handle momentarily was not depressed

We’ve just landed in Malaysia, myself  and Claire, my current travel buddy of choice and have elected to save 25RM (£5) on waiting 20mins for a taxi in the budget queue, rather than plumping for the executive queue. It’s another reminder that although we come from a comparably affluent country and earn decent money, we haven’t quite made it yet financially. Kuala Lumpur has it’s own unique and not greatly pleasant smell, not unlike many of the other places we have visited.
We’ve just lost an hour flying in from Koh Samui, Thailand, so now it’s 18:30 on 4th Sept.
We’re only here for c24hrs before heading for the sparkling pavements of Singapore.
I’ll try and keep you informed.
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Twitter 101: A beginners guide to Twitter

Twitter Baby BirdsSo you’re interested in Twitter? (FYI – this is kind of a long post, so I hope you have your scrolling finger warmed-up)

What is Twitter?

A lot of people tell me they don’t get Twitter. In it’s simplest terms, Twitter is a micro-blogging site. This means that each entry on Twitter, which is known as a tweet, is micro in size, in fact it can only be 140 characters long.

Some stats

(All statistics come from the UK Social Media Statistics, August 2012, eConsultancy
  • There are 10 million Twitter users in the UK
  • 17% of small businesses use Twitter to attract new customers
  • O2 is the top brand for Twitter mentions in the UK
  • 13% of UK consumers check Twitter on a daily basis, 3% of which don’t even have their own Twitter account
  • 24% of active Twitter users report using Twitter to do business

So, you know, it’s kind of popular and kind of a big deal. I’m not telling you you have to ‘do’ Twitter, but maybe have a little play

What is Twitter used for?

So much stuff! Most people I come across just think it’s for status updates like on Facebook, but limited in length. THIS IS NOT TRUE! These people aren’t using Twitter to it’s full potential and I totally understand why they don’t see the point in it, if this is what they believe to be it’s only application.

I’ve used Twitter for the following

  • Asking questions (and getting answers)
  • Finding service providers
  • Finding articles
  • Catching up with friends
  • Telling people when I’ve written a new blog post
  • Running competitions
  • Getting news
  • Commenting on TV shows (and reading other people’s comments)
  • Giving advice
  • Complaining about poor service
  • Shouting about awesome service
  • Communicating with customers
  • Apologising and receiving apologies
  • Building personal and work relationships
  • Identifying trends
  • Following trends
  • Commenting on trends
  • Flirting (tsk!)

Where should I start with Twitter?

You don’t need to have a Twitter account to explore Twitter, but the fact that you’re here makes me think you might want one.

You’ll need to start at Twitter.com and register, but that’s pretty simple, similar to how you would sign up to any other website.

Twitter sign in page 2012

Choose your username wisely. Firstly, if you want people to mention you, comment on your tweets or (old style*) retweet you, you have to bear in mind that your username will use up some of their 140 characters. Therefore the shorter the username the more characters people have remaining to respond to you.

Selecting Twitter Username

Also, think about who you’re going to be responding to on Twitter. You might well be keeping this handle for some time to come, so make sure it’s not offensive and suitable for all audiences.

You will be able to change the name that comes up on your Twitter account (mine is ‘Jo Darby) but it’s harder, though not impossible to change your username (mine being ‘Pose83′).

You should also check the Social Media policy of your employer, if you have one, as they might have restrictions on what you can and can’t put in your Twitter name.

If you work in Social Media, Marketing or Human Resources, you might also want to ensure that there is a Social Media Policy in place for the company you work for. I’ll write more about this, but eConsultancy have a good template for you to work from.

Your Twitter Page

You can customise your Twitter page if you want to. Mine isn’t heavily customised, but I have profile image and a bio.

From your Twitter page (www.twitter.com/[username]), when you are logged in, you can click edit your profile in the top right-hand corner and you’ll get this screen.

Edit profile page on Twitter

I would advise you to add a profile photo. It’s only going to appear small in most instances, so you want something bold, a logo or a head shot perhaps. Get rid of the generic egg that appears ASAP. A lot of people will pretty much ignore you if you have that egg in situ. It makes you appear to lack credibility.

As for your bio, try and make it short and snappy and again, you might want to check you employers policy on declaring that you work for them, especially if you’re going to be commenting on things to do with work or the industry you work in. In my bio is states who I work for and that all opinions are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of the company I’m employed by.

OK, you’re pretty much set up to getting tweeting now. But wait! You should probably investigate a little further before you jump right in.

Snooping around

Who you choose to follow on Twitter really depends on why you’re there, but Twitter will aim to help you find people and trends that you’re interested in. Oh, and to follow people, you just hit the follow button. Simple, huh?

#Discover

Twitter have a handy little discover button at the top of the screen that you can click. This will suggest who to follow and show you stories tailored to you. Might be worth hitting that.

Trends

Within Twitter on the left hand side you will regularly see a box displaying trending topics. This can be altered to show country or globally (and dependent on availability, by city too). This will show you what everyone else is talking about. Click on one of the trends and you can see all the messages within it. This might also give you a few more ideas for people you want to follow.

Search

Just search for some people or search terms in the search box at the top of the page. Some interesting stuff might pop up.

Off site

A lot of brands, celebrities and people will promote their Twitter accounts through their other Social Media channels or through their websites. Look out for the Twitter icon

What does this symbols mean?

You’ll see a lot of these things

#

The symbol is called a ‘hash,’ though I’ve heard it called a ‘gate’ too. It’s previously been used to denote a number, but this once under-used little symbol has really come in to it’s own with the advent of Twitter.

The hash is now put in front of a word or phrase to create what is known as a hashtag, for example #London2012. Hashtags are primarily used to group and sort information to make it easier to find.  For example, if you were making a comment about an athlete at the London 2012 Olympics, you might append the tweet with #London2012 (note, no spaces) or #GoldMedal. They are added by the tweeter though, so their is no guarantee of their reliability. The benefit of this is that anyone searching for this hashtag will see your comment and you could potentially use an established hashtag to help promote your message.

They are no longer just confined to Twitter. In the modern vernacular they are appended to pretty much anything.

Be careful which hashtags you jump on though. There have been some incidents of people using hashtags surrounding negative or upsetting news stories and getting really shot down for doing so. The most recent incident I’m aware of was after the Aurora shootings at the showing of the Dark Knight Rises where a fashion company saw fit to do this.

Celeb Boutique Aurora Tweet

It pretty much went viral for all the wrong reasons

The difference between old style and new style retweets

I actually only discovered the difference between old style and new style retweets quite recently, but as I mentioned it above, I thought I better let you know which is which. An old style retweet is how people used to retweet in the olden days. Someone would copy and paste a tweet by someone else and put the author’s username in front of it for example this is an old style retweet I posted of my friend, Gemma’s post. I felt the world needed this tip.

Old style retweet

I manually typed Gemma’s username and then copied and pasted the tweet. Had her tweet filled the maximum 140 characters, the tweet would have been cut short by 14 characters (tweet minus her username and the @ symbol).

The new style retweet means that the tweet can be retweeted in it’s entirety without losing characters to the username. There is an icon on Twitter (and other tweet management systems) that allows you to retweet. It looks like this.

New style retweet

You click expand, which you can see in the lower tweet and then you have the option to retweet and if you press that, you’ll get something that looks like this.

How a retweet appears

It’ll show this in both yours and the person that you retweeted’s Twitterfeed.

We’re probably getting a little advance with the retweets, so I think we’ll leave the lesson there.

Next up, Twitter management tools. These will help you manage your Twitter feeds and make them more meaningful and easier to digest.

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#Fail Friday: Hell Pizza New Zealand

Hell Pizza ConfessionalOh dear, it’s Friday and I’ve found a pretty epic fail. I only saw it because I love Social Media and I love New Zealand, so naturally I follow Social Media NZ on Facebook. I’ve seen this on a couple of places on the internet, but I’m surprised it hasn’t become more prevalent.

Hell Pizza New Zealand, where Hell Pizza originated, has a weekly competition where you can confess your secrets and the best one each week wins a pizza or something…

Anyway, the one that won last week was pretty special. Please switch off now if you’re easily offended or possibly a little harder to offend. Here it is…

I once was at this party and saw this utter wanker, he passed out so I stuck a mask on and stuck my cock and balls in to his mouth until he woke up. To this day he still doesn’t know who it was, and gets shit for it all the time.

In true Social Media style, the subsequent comments ranged from congratulatory to appalled (you can read them all here), but while this thread was self moderating, a comment from Hell Pizza really was required as they were essentially highlighting and condoning sexual assault as was pointed out by more than one commentor.

Some time later Hell Pizza then posted this response (source: Jezebel)

Hey everyone, tonight we posted a fan’s confession seeing it in the spirit of a prank between mates. Once we understood that offence had been taken and saw the bad light the post could be seen in we removed it, and we apologise to those offended. Lesson learned.

I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that it’ difficult to see the good light in this particular ‘prank’ and, indeed, the publication of it. This weak apology was not enough to silence many of the offended, of which there were many.

Ultimately, a more sincere apology was posted with the promise to donate 10,000NZD (£5,144) to the Wellington Rape Crisis charity, with a further commitment to match all donations made before the end of the month. This gesture came on the back of suggestions made on Facebook.

While this incident showed a massive error in judgement from the Community Manager, I think they eventually handled this in an appropriate manner. This has clearly cost them financially, but will raised awareness of unacceptable conduct and sexual abuse, plus the Wellington Rape Crisis charity, which will hopefully remain funded, as it is currently struggling. It has also raised awareness of Hell Pizza, which is branching out to become an international brand. I’m not suggesting this was a planned stunt, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this also benefits the brand ultimately.

You can make a donation to Wellington Rape Crisis here.

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My car got broken in to!

Broken in to Renault Clio Car

I know I should be posting a Twitter cheatsheet today, but my life kind of got in the way. Sorry, it’s coming soon!

For all you that moan about how bloggers just write about how fabulously glossy and lustrous their life is, my car got broken in to. So there, my life sucks as hard as everyone else’s! Although, actually it doesn’t.

Yes, my car got broken in to and I’m a little sad that they stole my mix CDs, my broken iTrip and a coat I bought from eBay for a tenner. I’m OK about the £75 excess on my insurance to replace the broken glass, because Autoglass gave me a free windscreen last week and the man from RAC fixed my tyre valve for free, I’m not happy about the additional expenditure for the bent window seal, but you know, I’ll be OK and here’s why:

  • When it happened, I was most likely in the pub with my buddies or asleep – two things I’d rather be doing than breaking in to cars
  • I have a replacement coat, CDs and I need a new iTrip
  • I am fortunate enough to be able to absorb the cost of repairs. I’d rather be buying shoes, but I won’t go hungry
  • I am fortunate enough that I have never been desperate enough to resort to crime
  • I am super lucky that I have friends that will drop everything to come and be practical for me when I’m upset that my car’s been broken in to
  • I am also pretty smug that I recognise my taste in music is so unappealing that the net result for the person who robbed my car has probably actually resulted in a negative

It’s not an optimal situation. I’m not so fairies and rainbows that I can look at this and think ‘awesome, shiny new window and less stuff to have to cart around in my car,’ but I’m not going to lose sleep or feel sad about it. I am a strong believer that as long as everyone’s healthy and alive, everything else can be sorted out. I also believe it’s not what happens to you in life that you should be judged by, but how you deal with it.

I’ve spent this evening drinking cava, eating cheeseballs and watching a programme about gypsies. I wonder if the people that smashed my windows spent it listening to the Pretty In Pink soundtrack. Fingers crossed!

FYI My deadlock works a charm, hence the two broken windows, not just one!

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This week the follow has happened

  • My mum joined Twitter (and my boss started following her) – She’s @MissDigwell btw!
  • Some people freaked out over a tweet, one tweet, that had no retweets and no replies
  • My lovely librarian friend, Tash, asked me how to get started on Twitter for her library

So for all the above reasons, I’ve decided I need to help people better understand Twitter. If you’ve got it down, awesome. But I hear people moan a fair bit about how they don’t ‘get’ Twitter and I hate explaining it when I’m not in front of a computer.

“I said TweetDECK not twee.. oh, forget it!”

I’m going to have you tweeting like a pro in no time or at least have you feel more comfortable about it. Keep tuned.

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So, it’s been a while since I actually filmed, edited and uploaded a video to YouTube. Honestly, I have not idea how other people do it and what programmes they are using because my process seems so laborious that I’m surprised YouTube is displaying so many additional hours of footage each day.

Anyway, without further ado, he’s the video I made. It general and loose theme is about how people rant using Social Media (including me). If you want to know my other opinions on how Social Media is changing the way we complain, you can read more here or if you’d like to know about other Social Media tantrums, hit up this link.

And one more time, I’m on Facebook y’all. Come over and join me!

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Best Wedding Dance Ever – 9 decades of music

I stumbled across this today on YouTube as it was posted by the man who does Social Media Banking. I was in touch with him a while ago when I was first interested in Social Media and working in the banking industry (stands to reason really).

Anyway, it looks like he got married and did this as his wedding dance. It’s pretty cool and looks like it required a lot of commitment to pull off, so let’s hope it sets a precident for their marriage.

Congratulations Katie and Christophe

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All I want to do is sit down and write…

OK, so the title statement isn’t completely true. I wish I could spend more time exercising too and watching YouTube videos, but I am acutely aware that I have so, so many draft posts that need completing.

I can’t promise I’ll be able to write more. Since starting my new job, I spend a lot more time geeking out on all things Social Media, not to mention taking on the burgeoning trend for Mobile Marketing.

I’m trying to think of better ways to optimise my time. If you have any hints or tips, please let my know.

I think one thing I do really need to attempt is being more focussed; completing a post once it’s started and then just putting it out there, quick and dirty style.

We’ll see how it all goes.

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