Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Volunteering at SMW London and a gist of a few events on Feb 8, 2011

Before sharing my experience in Social Media Week (SMW) today, I owe my readers an introduction to SMW.

Social Media Week (SMW) started in February 2009 in New York City with over 2500 participants attending over 40 events held across various locations throughout the city and thousands participating online. In February 2010, it spread to five other cities, viz. London, Berlin, San Francisco, Toronto and Sao Paulo. SMW became a biannual event in September 2010, adding more cities viz. Los Angeles, Milan, Bogota, Mexico City and Buenos Aires. SMW February 2011 is held across 9 cities, viz. New York, San Francisco, Rome, Paris, Toronto, Sao Paulo, London, Hong Kong and Istanbul. More information about the week can be found at http://socialmediaweek.org/about/.

It is a truly global event that brings together people from all industries to discuss social and mobile media and its role in the society. SMW London February 7-11, 2011 has an impressive list of events with global sponsors including Nokia and Meebo among others. So that makes me very proud to be a part of such an event which is global and popular among the social media experts, enthusiasts and others just exploring it.

Having missed some great events on 7 February 2011, I wanted to make up for it by being to as many events today. Early in the morning, I headed back to attend an interesting event at my first employer in London, 3 Monkeys Communications (3MC). Besides the bittersweet feeling of visiting the organisation and meeting familiar people, it was an enlightening experience. Jonny Stark, the Head of Social Media at 3MC delivered a presentation on "Eyeballs and Inspiration: the story behind BiC's 'Famous Faces". Jonny outlined the importance of the ACE model, i.e. balancing Acquisition and Engagement over Content in a social media strategy and cleverly used the analogy of a see-saw with acquisition and engagement on either side of the see-saw and content at the fulcrum. He also pointed out that viral contents need not necessarily be only video, which happens to be the trend at the moment. To support this, he discussed the recent social media campaign that 3MC handled for BiC.

BiC needed a campaign to convey the longevity of BiC pens. It was a very interesting take on the campaign by 3MC where artists were challenged (without incentives) to tweet their reproductions of famous works of art using BiC pens and to do it with having ink to spare. This campaign resonated the longevity of BiC pens and successfully engage many artists who sent in 'twitpics' of their reproductions of popular art. It was a very interesting content and for more information, watch out for a 3MC blog coming up soon on their website.

The second event I attended and volunteered was Social Telly: from Campaigning to Commentary to Community Building, held at the Design Council. As much fun I had setting up the venue and registering guests, it was a great event with speakers including Joshua March (Josh), Co-founder and CEO, Conversocial and Nick Underhill, Managing Director, Keo Digital. Other panel members were Rowan Kerek Robertson, Social Media Exec (Interactive Lead), BBC Vision and Adam Gee, Multiplatform Commissioning Editor (Factual), Channel 4 and the session was chaired by Michael Nutley, Editor in Chief, New Media Age (NMA).

Nick presented the Fish Fight campaign and Josh presented interesting metrics and data on the social activities of TV channels including BBC and Channel 4. It was a very engaging panel discussion and commentary on creating engaging content for campaigns, pre-campaign outreach and the importance of controlling the frequency of feeds and depth of engagement on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. The video stream of the full session can be accessed here.

The next event at the Design Council was The Future of TV advertising: Keeping it Social. It was an event packed with speakers and panel members includinKarla Geci, Strategic Partner Development, Facebook, Vincent L├ętang, Senior Analyst, Head of Advertising, Screen Digest and Ben Hopkins, Creative Technologist at JWT. The speakers pointed out that TV was one of the first social devices that allowed people to huddle around and interact and just be social. The future of TV advertising with the advent of social ads along was discussed and the speakers pointed out the lag in the social, gaming and viral element in TV advertising. 

Each event deserves a separate blog and there are numerous learning points from each session, which I hope to cover in upcoming posts. It was a great end to a great day, having met many people, successful coming together of the event I was helping organise, great learnings and of course free lunch ;). I will keep you updated with at least the week's events that I attend and volunteer at. Please feel free to leave any comments or any burning questions you may have. 

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Volunteering at Social Media Week - Part 1 (Feb 2 & Feb 4, 2011)

There are multiple reasons why I volunteered for Social Media Week London (@smwldn). I will let you decide if my reasons are justified:

1. I am a social media enthusiast.

2. I am constantly looking out for events and opportunities to participate and network with like-minded people, subject matter experts and possibly recruiters too.

3. I am in between jobs. It is only after completing my 3 months internship that I resumed my job hunt, so I had some time to spare besides going for interviews.

4. Social Media Week was just around the corner and was recruiting volunteers!

5. Social Media Week is a worldwide event and some event management experience would look amazing on my CV.

So my volunteering serves a five-fold purpose. I got super-excited and applied.
Surprisingly for a volunteer position, there was a three-stage screening process - online application and CV, telephone and face-to-face interview. I have no complains whatsoever, I got the position of a volunteer at Social Media Week (SMW) London!! I am chuffed.

Chinwag is the organisation managing the London events and I was interviewed at Chinwag office. Although the volunteering task was to manage on-site Chinwag events during SMW, I volunteered to help Chinwag with off-site prepping for events for 2 days. I met amazing people at Chinwag and a fellow volunteer Sarada. We had fun preparing and printing event signs, checking banners, getting and packing stationery, organising and checklist-ing things needed for the events and keeping everything ready-to-go.

The prepping was so much fun, can't wait to attend and volunteer at the actual events!
Are you attending SMW? Can't wait to meet you all! More updates on my experience in Social Media Week next week :) Until then, ciao.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Art it is! - Part 2

Hi guys, continuing with my Paint.net lessons, I picked up these really great tutorials online, which I am embedding here if anyone is impressed by my work and wishes to start using Paint.net yourself :)

Below is a series of tutorials by "ozwalled2007" on YouTube. The first two are very useful, and the third one is quite basic, but still t.hey are a series and I don't want to break them up, so here they are.

Part I
This part shows the use of layers, color, brushes, grid and rule.

Part II
This part shows the selection of color tones and saving palettes.

Part III
This shows how to open existing files and close them (basic) :).

So those were some easy tutorials and I dabbled around and drew many a things. Let me display my artwork in future posts. Until then, happy painting!

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Social media: a personal observation

I am using this space to share my personal observations from using the big three social networking websites.

I have noticed (not surprisingly) that all social media professionals have a flair of being very social! Pardon me for the cliches, but they are very interactive and the content of their blogs, tweets or status messages are very engaging.

My social media experience is very less compared to the social media influencers who have matured along with it. However, I use my personal social media profiles: Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn mainly, as a platform to practise and see how I influence my friends/followers. I often use my blog as a starting point to see which social platform drives the most traffic to my posts. It is not surprising to me that most of the traffic for my blogs come from LinkedIn, followed by Facebook, then Twitter.

This is not surprising to me because I have more people with similar interests in LinkedIn. I interact more with people on LinkedIn. My Facebook friends are ever growing and growing faster than any other profile - I guess this is one of the reason why many companies are investing on Facebook, it is easy to grow the number of fans/friends. Twitter is most fast paced of all the three networks. Tweets fleet by my timeline and often I don't have the time/energy to read all the tweets any day. Out of the thousands of tweets per day, I read about 5-10.

I had posted a question on Quora about how many tweets actually gets read by people. Interestingly, an answer by Rick Mans revealed me these very interesting stats by Sysomos. They studied 1.2 billion tweets over 2 months and observed that only 29% of the tweets generated a reaction.

So, I am not surprised why I don't get much traffic from twitter, but at the same time, I am wondering what might be the appropriate time to tweet and get noticed. I tweet at a particular time of the day and it gets burried under atleast 10 tweets in the same minute. This again makes me realise how important it is to build a personal brand and interact with the followers in order to be noticed, and sometimes to be looked out for in the heap of tweets. If I were a brand, I just need to be good in engaging people and maintain or improve the brand reputation.

I continue learning everyday and my observations continuously feed into my social media apprenticeship. This is a good note to sign off with. As always, please feel free to leave your comments and suggestions.

Art it is!

Hi everyone! I am learning something very exciting. For a change in the pace of my blogs, and also, developing a new skill, I am learning editing pictures using Paint.net!

I wanted to use photoshop, but let me admit it - I am broke and unemployed at the moment, so I settled for the free version. It is a very good tool anyhow. I am using video tutorials on YouTube and guess what, there are really good ones and I am learning really fast !

One of the first tutorial videos I started off with is this:

I am proud to present my very first piece of art!!

Tadaaa!! This one was developed from scratch with no background picture to work on. It is pretty cool, isn't it? I got really enthused and tried many more stuff, which I am sharing with you all lovely people.

This is just the beginning! :) Leave me any comment of what you think of my new-found artistic interest - even if you feel the pictures I worked on are awful :) I am only learning, and of course, I can be bad at it ...

Ciao with more art in the upcoming posts. Take care!

Useful free twitter tools for the web

I have been meaning to write this post for a long time - so here I am today, with my blog on the useful twitter tools.

This is the tool I have been using the longest. It has a free version and an upgraded Pro version. The free version has many good basic features and is good enough to manage less than 5 social profiles from a single platform. The free version allows you to schedule tweets for a later date or time, however, for bulk scheduling, you need an upgraded paid version.

You can list your contacts with the number of their followers, following and their Klout score. You can perform all the functionalities you can do using Twitter, i.e., follow, unfollow, report, block or list the user using this tool, but in a better way. You can also view stats for a specific date range, the last 7 days, 24 hours and so on. This tool has much more to offer and is worth checking out - I have been using it since.

This is similar to Hootsuite that allows to to manage your social profiles more efficiently. It launches as an independent browser. For use in a personal computer, there are two versions: desktop and chrome. Additional functionalities include, filtering each column by text, identifying popular tweets and clearing seen updates in each column and so on. It also 'pings' with a small popup when new tweets come. Translating updates and auto-URL shortening when you compose are pretty cool too.


I started using this tool fairly newly but I find it very useful. It has some features similar to Hootsuite - scheduling tweets, URL shortener and click stats. However, it has some cool features that Hootsuite doesn't have and it is for those that I use it. It shows a followers, followings, tweets and DMs in graphs plotted over time that clearly indicates how your twitter profile has been growing/shrinking over time. A warning though is that the figures aren't as updated as in other tools providing the same graph (below).

Other interesting features include vetting your followers, composing and scheduling direct messages for your new followers, specifying criteria to automatically unfollow certain people and so on. 

Though it has other functionalities, I use this tool just for the stats - the graphs that show the increase/decrease in twitter followers, following or tweets or mix of followers and tweets in separate graphs. It gives more updated stats than socialoomph. The graphs are available in a weekly, monthly or 3-monthly plot. Hourly and 6-monthly plots are available in a premium version (how much do we need them anyway?). 

Useful for new twitter users, there's a profile checker that tells you what you need to do to having a good twitter profile so that you can increase your followers.

Although Klout is not just a twitter tool, it is worth mentioning here because of its importance. Klout scores are calculated as a cumulative of all the social profiles you add to it. The scores range from 1-100, the higher the score, the higher your sphere of influence. You can use other people's klout scores to identify influential people in your network. An analysis It is also useful to check out who your main influencers are and who are influenced by you.

Tweepi, Twitcleaner and Manageflitter
All these tools have the same essence -identify potentially 'dodgy' or inactive users for you, whom you can choose to unfollow. Tweepi and Manageflitter also identify active, 'talkative' and influential users in your lists. They also point out followers who you are following but are not following back. 

Manageflitter goes a step ahead to recommend you a list of users who have been unfollowed by other users. 

Twellow is a twitter directory, which lists 'tweeples' by their interests/tweets. For example, there are many categories including Bloggers, Doctors, Technology, London and so on, that helps you find new people by in a particular category that you can follow. This is a good way to find potential 'following'.

This was a brief overview of the popular and useful free twitter tools available in the market. Do let me know which ones you like and which good free tools I have missed out.


Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Social (Public) or Personal?

This topic is inspired by several discussions over social and professional networks and the birth of 'Path', a social network that restricts the number of friends to a mere 50.

Firstly, I am often asked the question - 'Should I add colleagues on Facebook?'. This question resonates the very basic question of privacy in using these social networking websites. A very interesting observation was made by professor Robin Dunbar of Oxford, that we may have many (>=500) 'Friends' on Facebook, but we are capable of maintaining only 150 "meaningful relationships". This means that we have many people on our social networks, with whom we hesitate to share very persoanl and private information.

Now to answer the question that I am very frequently asked - I use two Twitter accounts. I use one for communicating trends with professional followers/following and the other for communicating personal updates with close friends and family. Similarly, I keep Facebook strictly personal and do not add colleagues as I might share a little too much than I want my colleagues and bosses to find out!! Like Twitter, many people maintain two separate accounts for Facebook as well - this is a step too much for me - but people do, and people who have the strength and energy to maintain multiple websites can very well do so. LinkedIn, by its very nature is for professional networks, and I keep it that way.

This leads on to the other thing I mentioned in the opening sentence of this blog - the birth of 'Path'. We have many 'friends' on facebook and we do not wish to share everything with everyone. Path is very much inspired by this and Professor Dunbar's research findings. It is a social networking website that restricts the maximum number of friends to 50. This means we would be careful in selecting the close 50, with whom we can share personal information without any qualms!

The whole point of this blog was to reflect on how 'social' has started to mean 'public' and slowly, new application slike 'Path' are trying to break the publicness of being social and make it more personal.

Please leave your comments on how you feel about sharing information on social networking websites.