Social Media Bitchiness


There is a sickness in the world and it is called Social Media … Actually Social Media is OK, it is the nasty folk that hide behind it which is the real problem.  Even something as trite as trying to get a book publisher turned into a recent bitch fest.

Austin Macauley is a Publishing House that still accepts unsolicited manuscripts so naively I sent something in, thinking why not? The book I have written is a little quirky and all about Social Media; All the BAD that it has created. I did not expect a positive response from AM but one (naively) always hopes for a positive reaction.  Even a positive-negative response is a step in the right direction for any author.  Months on and a follow-up email to them went without response.  For some reason (a sixth sense) I got a little suspicious and thought maybe this is a scam…p.s. the book (if it ever publishes) will explain my paranoia.

Looking around on-line I came across this: The Writers Workshop and an article by Harry Bingham who was questioning the methods of AM the Publisher…intimating that they are in reality a Vanity Publishers as they ask you to pay to have your book published.

Having tweeted this story on my Twitter account AM’s Social Media Manager decided they didn’t like what they read and responded immediately.  Their SM dashboard had obviously flashed up a signal that criticism was being levied at them. I was slightly incensed that they were rapid enough to write to me on Social Media but had not responded to my other more inquisitive correspondence about my manuscript via their website.

I sensed that the Harry Bingham story and my subsequent Tweet had hit a raw nerve … and suddenly this came through: … ‘we sent you an email but it didn’t get through.’ Ermmm! Email that does not get through … not in 2017 to a very simple address … I was not convinced!  Then I suddenly received, ‘with no problem’, the standard blah blah blah your book does not meet the criteria of our reading list etc. No thank you! Fair enough I thought!

Meanwhile the Social Media conversation was ongoing.  In the thread the following was said:

@AustinMacauley It took Social Media accusations of skulduggery to get a response – I need to burn the book hahaha! Vanity be thy name!

This was swiftly followed by a BITCHY message that is glowing in sarcasm and has ‘fuck-you’s’ all over it.

@ASChaigneau We are very sorry that our email did not get through the first time round, but are very glad that you’ve seen it now.

Oooooohhhhh How beautifully crafted is that Tweet – English wordsmithery at its best. Worthy of a Book Publisher hahaha n’est ce pa?  How subtle is that ‘go fuck yourself’ message. #LOL (Normally water of a duck’s back but I will not let this one go. It is perfect for the next book…to be continued)

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THE HOW-TO GENRE IS THE BIGGEST ‘CON’ IN ‘CON’TENT MARKETING


I followed a Twitter link on a HOW-TO subject that interested me for the simple fact I have to write case-studies … I naturally fell upon this typical ‘Content Marketing’ nonsense advice.

Desperately disappointing and so typical of the WWW repository of nothingness!

How to write a credible case study

At XXXX we have written hundreds of case studies for clients like Microsoft, HP and LinkedIn. Based on our process and experience, here are ten tips to help you write better case studies:

  • Do your groundwork.  NO SHIT SHERLOCK! I AM NOT GOING TO WRITE ABOUT SOMETHING FOR A CLIENT THAT I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT AND THEY EMPLOYED ME!!! Understand the product or service being sold, and research the companies on both sides of the deal. This can be as simple as reading the ‘About Us’ section on a company website, or their company news page. You need some context for the deal you’re writing about.
  • Get some background. I AM CONFUSED HERE ABOUT OBVIOUS QUESTIONS! Try to get hold of the person who was on the ground and made the deal, and get them to tell you what happened. Get some background so when you speak to the client you aren’t wasting their time with obvious questions.
  • Interview the right person. WELL I NEVER! … WHAT? GET HOLD OF PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY WORKED ON THE DEAL! … The real story will come from the people actually involved in procurement, implementation and customer relations. Avoid interviewing marketing or PR people, as they will only tell you a repackaged story, which will sound hollow when you write it up. You want the real customer, preferably a champion of your product.
  • Find the story. A USE CASE IS A STORY OTHERWISE THERE IS NO STORY! This is the crux of the case study. There has to be a story: a struggle before, a journey to improve, and a benefit in the present. This doesn’t always mean profits: it might be improved employee retention, saved time or a new business model. The focus is on what matters most to the person you interview. And make sure you tell the real story – no inflated figures.
  • Create a template. NOT THE CREATE A TEMPLATE ADVICE – WHOOPEE DOO DAH! Once you have your basic story you can build a structure. Most case studies fall into company biography, challenge, process and benefits. Structures are there to emphasise the story, not shackle it though. Tweak it to the story, and give yourself four or five subheadings.
  • Categorise your transcript. GO THROUGH YOUR NOTES… ARGHHH! OH YES … IT BECOMES AUTOMATIC DOESN’T IT? Take your interview notes and go through them, assigning each part to one of your subheadings. You should end up with three to five key points for each section. The more you write, the more automatic this step will become.  The flow of the story will be obvious as you do the interview.
  • Find your key quotes. WHAT THE EFFS A FRANKENQUOTE??? Never use frankenquotes in a case study; people can spot them a mile off. It is best to use short, snappy quotes, dotted throughout the case study that underline or explain one of your bullet points. Let your interviewee’s personality shine through.
  • Flesh it out. OH MY – NOW WRITE IT ALL DOWN????? You have a structure, bullet points and key quotes, which means the writing part should now flow easily. If it doesn’t, you haven’t got to the real heart of the story: go back and reassess the structure to make sure you are emphasising the right points.
  • Clean it up. EDITING BABY EDITING_IMPORTANT STEP N’EST CE PAS! … Don’t use too many marketing phrases or clichéd product explanations – keep it human, but make sure you are referring to products correctly, and types of implementation or acquisition in the right way. Keep the story accurate. And be sure to include specifics.
  • Cut your copy. WHAT RANDOMLY SAYING ANYTHING A MILLION TIMES IS NOT GOOD???? MAKE IT VITAL HA! HA! HA! – SERIOUSLY PEOPLE!!!! A case study shouldn’t be longer than 500-750 words. Any more and people just won’t read it. Cut out repetition, shorten quotes, and make sure everything you write is vital to the story.

Why Me? The Art of Social Media – Guy Kawasaki & Peg Fitzpatrick


the art of socialI was priviledged, and a little bit bewildered at the same time, when invited to review the book ‘The Art of Social Media’ by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick. I had volunteered by the way, signing up to a website, but had never anticipated the fact that I may be among the frontrunners for this task.  I wasn’t sure what to think because the mighty man that is supposedly ‘Mr Social Media’ had indicated to his publishing house that I, a mere midget of a blogger, might be able to participate in its success: Why Me?  Perhaps a few thousand others are in the same position scratching thier heads wondering as to why they may have been picked.  It is probably all about geographic spread – there not many people in Switzerland writing in English or have the faintest idea who Guy Kawasaki or Peg Fitzpatick are.  It’s certainly not my writing skills that had me selected, that’s for sure (know thy weaknesses)!

As such, I have read the book and am going through it again for a second time.  I can tell you that it is an interesting read, especially if you are very much starting off and you would like to have the Social Media aspect completely aligned across all the options now available on the market.   The book is packed with ‘how-to’ information, albeit some rather common sense items, and many that reference Guy’s other business interests 😉 naughty, naughty – Nnnnno, just promotion and Social Media machinations.  Isn’t that the point of marketing?  If you are an old-timer in Social Media the book may just seem like teaching Grandma to suck eggs.  As it stands I got quite a bit out of it but it was much more helpful to my spouse, who is just starting off in this domain.  Like I said if you are starting out is is a great guide.

My journey in ‘networking’, the old term for Social Media,  & ‘marketing’ was back in the late 90s .  I spotted LinkedIn early whereupon I was around number 550 to sign-up.  When I received a thank you letter from the CEO some many years later it only made me realise what a plonker I had been not having entered into this business intrinsicly.  I have merely followed Social Media as things have come and gone.  I have Blogged and Social Media’d my way in and around a number of different topics.  In my real life I am do B2B Marketing and it is not a place that Social Media has any real benefit…No, that is not defeatist, it is the voice of a realist who has understood the merit and the place that this medium is made for.  In the industry that I cater for sales cycles are 18 months to 2 years or even longer, with extremely comlex systems-selling-scenarios.  There are no commoditised items and a small circle of companies fighting it out for the market.   Marketing and Social Media feature but the SM part is very small as we do not have enough valuable sories.  We need to be discreet and not tell the competition what we are up to.  Many of the things we do are done in order to aid customer get to the consumer.  So we facilitate Social Media in a sense just not our own directly.  What is your point?  Well Social Media seems to be about combining a plethora of systems, writing and tools that have ultimately fragmented marketing.  The Art of Social Media guides you through that admirably, developing a cohesive strategy from A to Z.

Going back to an earlier blog-piece on Social Media that I feel is relevant to the book (something that is missing in its pages) – If you have clearly and concisely used ALL of the techniques : What do you do if it does NOT work – then what?

BlackFWhat I wrote a short time ago was the following:  There are a huge amount of failures in Social Media but you do not hear much about them unless they are huge Company cock-ups.  Social Media is in the main only about success and good news stories.  Those aforementioned failures are hidden and never discussed.  There are many overly optimistic types that can turn around a failed campaign into a good enough positive to drive a success story, such is the overly exuberance of Social Media experts.  We see hundreds of thousands of people, all using the tool of self proclamation and the title of expert or guru.  In the book Guy and Peg tell us to stay away from them which is clearly contradictory, as that is what he/she is often described as – a Social Media Expert/Guru.

I have a handful of personal experiences in failed Social Media…Not because I am bad at it but because I have found that if you are in early and hit the sweet-spot you can potentially flourish; the Big Fish in a Small Sea situation – if you are only the Small Fish in a Big Sea then you know where that potentially leads – often to failure no matter how hard you try.

Let’s look at Picasso as an example (a great marketeer) … who was originally a traditional painter yet only one amongst many in his era … In order to stand out from the crowd he invented a different style (cubism) that went against the grain and the establishment.  Look where it led!  However, today there are millions upon millions more people on the planet equally talented, equally imaginative, equally trying to be different, yet the opportunity for ‘differentiation’ and inventing something new is rapidly diminishing.  Most things, styles, products have been invented and many things, which are being offered up as if they are new, are not.   It is just that people do not look deep enough or far enough back to see if their stuff is original.  For all the successes, just as for all the inventions, there is a minuscule percentage that make it.

Social Media is no exception to the ebb and flow of success and failure.  However, if at first you dont succeed then you must, if you are a true Social Media believer, try and try and yes, try again.  Get the book as and when you feel the time is right or the price is right – I personally find the price tag a little high considering this book is swimming in a sea of equally clever Social Media self-help books.  Nonetheless if you do dip in to the waters you must follow the tips, do the exercises and report back as to whether or not it helped.  That will be the measure of this book.  Not how many copies it sells, ever filling the pockets of the money-making authors (their words not mine), but just how many people actually benefit from its guidance.

#Twitter Bonkers & Nigerian Kidnapping


cropped-red_rejected_stamp_400_clr.pngWhat I would like to know is  will we now have a hashtag for every incident that occurs on the planet be it a kidnapping, murder spree or some other event that affects the human race in some shape or form or are we going to deal with these incidents realistically?  This is how this whole event should have unfolded: #event – Hundreds of Schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria.  #nextstep – UN (or some governing body) orders orders Press BLACKOUT – #nextnextstep – We send in a multi-nation Elite Forces Group – Kill Terrorists – Rescue Girls – #PressStory then reads: Schoolgirls kidnapped in northern Nigeria by Boko Haram rescued, ALL Terrorists dead – VOILA!

Lets sort out the mess and NOT tweet nonsense and vocalise DISDAIN about it as that is just what Boko Haram wants.  Sorry #michelleobama @MichelleObama but holding a hashtag poster was just not what you should have done;  You should have told hubby @BarackObama to send in the troops.

 

Is There Really A Loss Of Allure To CES 2013?


200px-The_Bubble_British_PosterWhen you don’t go to a Trade Show that you have been regularly visiting for the past 8-10 years it is a slightly uncomfortable feeling.    It sort of feels like you are missing out on something…but are you really?  CES is after all a gadget show and do we need to go if we are not Retailers of Consumer Electronics?  What a lot of people do not know is that there is a lot going on behind the scenes in more of a Business-2-Business nature; especially in the Television world that I move in.   A lot of networking takes place, and a lot of  ‘private suites’ allow for plenty of businessmen to gather, show of their wares in private, discuss and potentially deal-make!

However as a ‘tech journalist’ you might think that things have a different allure.  Certainly the BBC’s writer David Pogue has just publishd a very poignant article from his perspective.  It can be found in full here: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20130104-does-ces-have-a-future

His outlook is that there is mostly years of repetition of  technology along with what I call ‘catch-up’ Companies there ‘en-masse’ with cheaper but the same gadgets from the year before and therefore swamping the floors, the industry and the news with old stuff in effect.  There is also a decline in the Big Companies with Microsoft having pulled out!   Apple is not there either and if Apple is not there how can it truly be called THE Consumer Electronic Show?  Qualcomm even did the keynote speech this year – Qualcomm?

Another journalist from our immediate industry Leslie Ellis pointed out that the the trending products were waterpoofing gadgets for your smartphones and tablets.   I suspect the Hunting Knife Company and the Mini Flying Helicopters will still be there in the South Hall and that Spearmint Rhino will still get its CES clientele.  Ummm, so what is it I miss?

Well in all honestly I do miss it as it kicks off the business year with a hectic, manic traipse around Vegas!  Therefore life without an early dose of CES certainly makes for a less-tired more calculated start to 2013.

Un-Sociable Media and Your Money!


If you live in a city of a 1,000,000 plus your actual ‘contact’ with people is limited to the epi-centre (i.e. where you live) and a radius of some mile/kilometer or so around you – In effect creating a village in that large city; and reality says that a small % of that million inhabitants are your real contacts…each person has a different village some constituents overlap as in Facebook, Twitter et al! So PLEASE STOP pretending that we have access to Billions of people in Social Media because WE DON’T! There are many villages in FB/Twitter/LinkedIn and of course a few larger towns and a city or two that get created (as per all social media sites) and you have to realise this before you waste your money on advertising and sponsored media in those domains. Social media reflects life, reflects business and is a parallell universe to our everyday existence. Open your mind to the reality and ignore the hype…Think about it!

Quitting Facebook – The Life of LEMSIP!


Facebook forges further forward with new mechanisms to attract revenue.  The IPO, a bungled affair, has not stopped people giving up on it…except me that is.  I left Facebook for several reasons. The principal being that discretion is not the better part of valor for most people.  Indiscretion is not calculated on Facebook, it is ignored and that has consequences in many people’s lives.   So I thought it better to be ‘out of the limelight’ so no more indiscretion by me or my clan.  Or perhaps in a sensitive moment I over-reacted as there are probably little or no consequences at all (at my level) considering that most Facebook ‘blah blah’ is now lost in the myriad of noise that has beset Social Media.  As in all this Social Media push the likes of Blogs, Twitter, Bebo, MySpace, et al  saw early heady days that allowed you to make your name, become a ‘Perez’ or have a million followers if you had something niche to ‘loud-hailer’ into the ether.  Today we are swamped.

The second reason I left Facebook was that it became an interference in my life.  Everybody does it, everyone talks about it, TV ads drive you to it and for what?  So you can look at other people telling you how wonderful their lives are, their merchandise is,  or how famous their news channel is.  Last but not least the final reason was that I had become disappointed with what it offers up in regard to Businesses.  It is really just a Corporate WebPage in another format.  It is a Company Forum which is not always a bright idea!  The incident that broke the camel’s back was that of the technical issue with a Print Server device from a Company (who shall remain nameless) after obtaining no joy from their technical support site.   I thought eureka go to their Facebook page and see how I can interact with them and other ‘FANS OF PRINT SERVERS’ in order to solve the problem.  Lo and Behold the whole experience was one of total disappointment.  A ‘paid’ Social Media Monitor from Company X saw my unhappy post and replied to me asking me if I had been to yes … technical support.  They did not respond or assit in rectifying the issue.  Individualism is ‘ONE WAY’ in the land of Facebook.  When I offered to send them the useless device (I even offered to send it back at no cost with no request for refund) they did not answer.  Avoidance of the issue was the name of the game.  As it wast their Facebook page was full of complaints surrounding the said device.

In such circumstances you may say that I should have done my research via the medium I write about, beforehand?  Yes perhaps I should have done my research, however on a busy Saturday in a French equivalent of ‘Dixons’ I did not have time;  the purchase was made from the blurb on the box in an ‘in-store’ comparison moment.

So today I don’t LIKE Facebook, I don’t miss Facebook and when I get to a website that asks me to log-in using my Facebook account that moment in time shows me how narrow-minded many people have become.  What if you don’t have a Facebook account?  WHAT! YOU DON’T HAVE A FACEBOOK ACCOUNT?????

Then today, I read that Facebook has around 54 Million fake profiles, that LIKES are being generated from Egypt and the Philippines from fake accounts.  Boosting the myth that Facebook is the place to hit most people, increase your Brand Value and make you more money.  Millions of dollars spent by Companies on a medium that appears to be ‘valuable’.  I do question the thought pattern of some marketeers in some Companies though when it comes to Advertising.  Why on earth would anyone follow ‘LEMSIP’ or anything as remotely banal as a basic over the counter medicine Facebook page?  You have to be pretty ill yourself to be interested in the life of LEMSIP n’est ce pas?