ALT-C 2009: In Dreams Begin Responsibility


Watching ALT-C 2009, streaming live from the University of Manchester, from today through Thursday 10th August 2009. There’s also some other sessions being streamed via UStream.

Follow the stream on Twitter. (#altc2009 seems to be the main hashtag, but there are other’s noted!).
Beware of the concept of Digital Natives:

Christianity in the Digital Space

Winchester Web Scene

Proof positive I was there tonight (and I know, I have a bit of a backlog of other blog material on this blog). My other blog has gone crazy today after that New York Times article yesterday, and yes, I am behind on my tasks for today (and yes it’s nearly tomorrow)! See more about the Winchester Web Scene, formed in November 2008, growing monthly I do believe – not a networking business-card exchange kind of evening, but a chat with people who have shared interests – some coders, some developers, some content writers, some social media types…

Digital Fingerprint

Since 1997, I have had “mydesigna” as a catch-all for the websites that I’ve designed. As I move more and more into social media, I have set up a new WordPress site, which will become the new, up-to-date site, far more appropriate! I’m faffing around with Blue Host, and hopefully will learn how to upload my own CSS/use my own domain name, then I’m all set to help other people with the same! I’ve just had a fun day helping Deborah Kerslake of Serenergise gain an understanding of some of the possibilities for social media, I think the one she’s most looking forward to using is Twitter! As a result of teaching Debs about fan pages, I have also set up one of my own for Digital Fingerprint!

Scanner? For Sure!


I love this from Barbara Sher: “you wouldn’t ask a bird to pull a plough. It’s not cos it’s an inferior bird, a naughty bird or a lazy bird. It’s just cos it does other stuff and there are animals who do that… it’s their thing, they know how to pull a plough. And there are people who do the things you don’t like to do, and they like to do them, and they’ll do them better than you’ll ever do them on your best day because they get a kick out of it!”

Barbara Sher
First came across Barbara Sher in 2007, when I was trying to decide what I SHOULD do “for the rest of my life”, not sure that’s for me, and coming to terms with the fact that I can do many things, and that my passion for doing them means that I’ll do them well, but there reaches a point where I’m done! I have noted, however, that my interests circulate around learning/research, teaching/academia (post-compulsory), communication, community creation (online, including new media or offline) and contemporary Christianity!
Scanners Night, 8th July
Looking forward to going to a Scanner’s Night in London next Wednesday (organised by John Williams), with San Sharma, a Social Media Consultant.

Churches’ Media Council, 2009

Currently at the Churches’ Media Council (officially retired last night, to be renamed the Church and Media Network) Conference in Swanwick, Derbyshire. Already over halfway through, and it’s really interesting. Haven’t got time for a full-blog as need to get back into the swing, but thought I would register my presence here, and can add a blog, or blogs later, as the mood takes!

So far we have already heard from:
Plus I’ve been to Strand events on “Online and New Media” (see photo 1, photo 2) and Fringe Events on “Googling God” and “Bliss Radio“, plus chatted with several people and eaten far too much stodge! Special dinner in about 15 minutes! We still have more to come tomorrow…
Twitter at #cmconf
With no official hashtag designed for the conference, and #cmc and #cmc09 already in use by other organisations, have started the hashtag #cmconf, which would be great to use longer-term! I have identified the following Twitterers as being at this conference, mostly by searching for “churches media”, but also identifying some face-to-face. Today I’ve worn my “Keep Calm and Carry On” t-shirt to help identification of me: http://www.twitter.com/drbexl:
Unfinishedchris is also here, but (s)he wants their identity kept a secret!

Blogging for Business: Tony Treacy

Wired Wessex sponsored an event by Tony Treacy on Blogging for Business on Thursday 28th May. Social Media is exploding and Tony’s right there, giving us advice via econsultants.it.

SuperFunDaysOut
In discussions with SuperFunDaysOut about taking over their blogging, Twitter and bookmarking strategies (looking forward to all that adrenaline flowing online!), I thought I’d see if there was more to learn – there always is – but was pleased to note that much of it was familiar, although I need to put more of it into practice!
Inbound/Outbound Marketing
Previously Tony had given a talk on outbound (interruption) versus inbound (permission/opt-in) marketing – with social media falling into the second category, and much the way that business now goes. How it all fits together.
Blogs, SEO, Tools
  • Blogs are outdoing the web for SEO/traffic, as they are indexed quicker, therefore move up the Google, or Technorati, chain faster. 
  • WordPress is Tony’s recommended tool for blogs, with its own analytics software. It’s free, strong, professional (around 4,500 themes), and 6000+ plug-ins available.  He particularly recommends allinone. As WordPress also functions as a CMS, can have a consistent look to website/blog.
  • Particularly recommends Ping.Fm, allowing autoupdates of all social media.
Keywords
Keywords are the key to everything, as Google is simply a database, albeit a very sophisticated one! I’ve forgotten the name of the new tool that Tony mentioned which Google are developing in response to the success of Twitter…

On a website, with organic methods, optimising and tweaking the content, it can take around 6 months to reach the top-spot in Google, but with blogs, it can be possible in 3-4 days!

Time, however, needs to be spent in the early stages to define the keywords – it’s not rocket science, but experience demonstrates that it takes around 3 days to develop this.

What do you write about?
Write about what they want to learn about, not what you want to sell (aside from any possible benefits it may have for your viewers), as it’s all about a process of relationship-building. 

Know Me -> Like Me -> Trust Me -> Buy Me

In the UK studies have shown that visitors access a site 6-7 times before they buy.

What should a post look like?
  • Internal headings (indicative of content)
  • At least one graphic
  • 500-800 words (ok, view many of my posts so far as extended reportage, rather than blogs!)
  • Lists – not too many (e.g. 10 things for x)
  • 1 idea per post, keyword related.
  • The headline should assume that the reader won’t read the article.
  • Can surprise people with twists on words, etc [although I would add I’d take care not to be nothing to do with the words, as I get REALLY annoyed by that]
  • No problems with being commercial if it’s a personal opinion, clarify as such. 
  • No spelling errors!
A couple of free-ebooks are on his website

Publishing Schedule
  • 1-2 times per week and stick to it.
  • With WordPress (and probably others) can set a date to publish
  • Create keyword content/strategy.
What can you put in a post?
  • Interviews (including via email)
  • Video interviews
  • Guest posts from similar blogs (copy but provide a backlink, this is your CURATORIAL slant – pointing people to the best material)
  • “Best of” lists
  • “How do we do it” posts, including screenshots
Can you get someone else to write it?
Yes, plenty can be found on eLance, but no one knows your business as you do, and you’re missing out on participating on the conversation.

Tony, however, cited an example of tallshipsraces.org, which he took from a static site, which was targeting the 16-24 age bracket, and turned it into a site which generated great publicity/its own content, including YouTube. 

Put an RSS feed on and talk to your market. A number of US blogs are now using blogs as cusomter service. Time consuming but gets results. 

Comments
  • ="font-weight:normal;">Take comments seriously
  • Comment back – share an example, etc. (don’t just market your product). Tony recommended CommentHut for commenting (along with another product he’d forgotten the name of!), aiming for 10 comments/backlinks per day.
  • Off thought leadership.
  • Find out who people are and follow links.
  • Subscribe to blogs and follow on Twitter
  • There are pros/cons to monitoring comments, but easy with WordPress
Twitter
  • Use it as part of your blogging strategy.
  • Check out the “social media experts”, who’s following them?
  • Aim for 95% personal tweets, 5% sales, otherwise likely to be de-followed. 
  • Place Twitter URL on homepage, press releases, business card, email signatures!
Technorati
Technorati is the Google of the blogging world, so get your blog registered there. Find some big bloggers and start to link to their material (so you start to feature in their comments, etc.)

Google Reader
There’s a number of RSS feed readers [I use Newsgator], and Tony recommends Google Reader, which I use to follow blogspot blogs. 

Tony Treacy
I like Tony’s approach, offering advice to allow clients to run their own blogs! He’s passionate about what he’s doing and you can hear the excitement in his voice as he talks about the explosion of social media and how few companies can survive with a website alone!

Age Groups (Roughly!)
  • Under 35: Digital Natives
  • 35-55: Digital Immigrants
  • 55-65: Digital Aliens
  • 65 + Silver Surfers (who largely want to PhotoShop their family history then email it!)
Meantime, I’m looking forward to the end of this month when I’ll be adapting my WordPress for websites to WordPress for blogs to schoolkids who are engaging with University for the first time, shall think how best to structure the session!

#assk64 : 64 Words for Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi: 64th Birthday Coming Up

As Aung San Suu Kyi approaches her 64th birthday (June 19th 2009), and around 13 years of imprisonment, this site was created to collect hundreds of messages of support before that birthday. Created in only 6 days by Rechord, and launched only a couple of hours ago, the site already has a buzz going on Twitter, largely thanks to @SarahBrown10 (Gordon Brown’s wife, he’s also posted an entry, but it keeps disappearing thanks to the volume of Tweets!) and @JimmyCarr, and now @eddieizzard! You can read more about ASSK, and her fight against illegal imprisonment.

Add your voice: Website; Twitter Feed (using hashtag #assk64, let’s see if we can get it trending!); become a friend on Facebook.

Rediscovering a social life on the ‘net


Just because an application, widget, tool, web device, web 2.0 implement – whatever you want to call it – is available, doesn’t mean that it is necessarily useful. Yesterday, I started my re-familiarisation of what is ‘now’ on the ‘net. Here are some first thoughts in response to that…

Blogging
Working on a previous project, we’d established that www.blogger.com was a simple, solid site to use, and easy to access using my Google log-in. Wikipedia explains what a ‘blog‘ is.
FeedBlitz  and Feedburner are free services which allow your content to be seen by more users through sending them updates (using RSS or Atom Feeds, as generally used by blogs). Feedblitz converts them into regular (‘regular’ can be defined’) emails to be sent to subscribers. 
RSS Feeds add automatically updated content onto a website, naturally keeping the site fresh. Choose content carefully to be relevant to your website/blog. 
Virtual Worlds
I tried Second Life, but discovered I wasn’t that interested in getting the hang of it. There’s enough going on in the real world to keep me busy,  without inventing a second life! Social networking is different as it’s keeping in contact with people I have met in the real world. 

Social Networking
Facebook is my social networking site of choice. Facebook has been a great tool whilst I have been travelling, and I have many ‘Friends’ on there from a variety of different walks of life, but particularly from my time as an Oak Hall Tour Leader. Others recommend ‘spring-cleaning’ Facebook, but if I want to find someone, it’s easy enough, no need to go removing people… always interesting to have a chat with someone from your random past!
I still have MySpace and Friends Reunited accounts. I find Facebook more useful than MySpace, but am currently tinkering with the new features in Friends Reunited (now it’s free!). I have recently signed up to Twitter (famously used by Barack Obama) andTagged to experiment with their capabilities. 
There are also more specialist social networks which I have experimented with, includingMyChurch and OKCupid (which gives access to a number of personality tests). 
I have deleted my Orkut account as it is largely aimed at the South American market. I’ve not used Bebo as it seems to be aimed at the younger market. 
A couple of useful Wikipedia articles: