Jan 192011
 
“A beginning is only the start of a journey to...

Image by katerha via Flickr

Right… time I started posting to this blog much more regularly and frequently again.

Over the last six months or so I’ve become pretty jaded with the whole online scene. The urge to share everything with the world through blogging and social media channels waned.

I’m not sure what it is really… I think I just reached saturation point, and needed to step back a bit. In the real world I’m a pretty private person, quite happy to spend long hours alone. I’ve always been that way.

I’m sociable, and enjoy spending time with friends, but I’m not good in crowds and tend to keep myself to myself. I’m just as happy on a remote headland somewhere, or in the middle of a forest, with only myself for company. I guess the whole “share-everything-with-everybody” culture of social media was always rubbing against the grain. It just took a while for me to realise it.

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Jul 152009
 

The Toyota IQToyota Ireland’s latest publicity campaign for their new micro saloon, the IQ is going to include handing out four of the teeny-tiny four-seaters to bloggers / twitter users. The lucky individuals will get to use the car for six months in exchange for blogging / tweeting about their experiences with the vehicle.

The promotion was announced by @toyotaireland on Twitter:

4 Irish bloggers wanted to give happy homes to 4 Toyota iQ’s for 2009 check out http://bit.ly/YV9gT

Predictably they’ve been inundated:

In under 12 hrs of launching our IQ promo we’ve had excess of 100 applicants, 13% incr in daily traf to toyota.ie & 30 new fols. ds twit wk?

If you’ve got a blog and a Twitter account, are over 21 and you live in Ireland you can apply for the 6 month Toyota IQ test drive – but hurry – applications close on Friday! You can check out the full terms and conditions here.

It’s a great idea… one that’s already generating a lot of social media buzz… and provided Toyota handles it properly, and leaves the individuals to write openly and honestly about their experience of the IQ, it could be a real winner for them.

Who knows… if this works out for Toyota it could make a wonderful case study for next year’s follow-up to “Understanding Digital Marketing”.

Feb 102009
 

A very talented software developer I used to work with way back when — Walter Higgins (@walter on twitter) over at Cork based Sxoop Technologies — has developed a cool little application that builds a clickable photo-montage of all your twitter followers’ avatars.

People are already putting the resulting Twitter Mosaics on their blog posts, desktop wallpaper, mugs, T-shirts, bags, business cards… you name it. The application has evolved somewhat since I first looked at it — and now lets you selctively delete avatars from the resulting mosaic and even order printed products. It also presents you with the HTML code to embed the mosaic on your own website or blog post.

So if you’re on Twitter, why not check out your own Twitter Mosaic.

Great work by Walter and the crew at Sxoop, and proof, yet again, that when it comes to Twitter application ingenuity Ireland in general, and perhaps Cork in particular, is leading the charge.

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Oct 252008
 

Just spotted these Kronomy timelines after following links from Guy Kawasaki’s “How to Change the World” blog.

As a Welshman living in the South West of Ireland, I have to say I’m paying only cursory attention to the US election antics, but I wanted to share these timelines here because I think they give those of us who are distant from the front-line of the campaign a quick, convenient and entertaining snapshot of both candidates’ backgrounds.

Here’s Obama’s timeline:

And here’s McCains:

This is the first time I’ve encountered Kronomy… and I have to say it’s pretty cool, and looks incredibly slick. I haven’t played around with setting up a timeline of my own yet… if you have let me know what you think in the comments.

Oct 072008
 

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Louder Voice knocks the socks off other peer review sites in terms of usability, design and its community-centric features. Another example of an Irish tech-company delivering a product / service that’s truly world class.

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And the newly launched Louder Voice for Business offers similar reviews functionality for your business website… which is excellent news for businesses who “get” the shift towards conversational marketing and online consumer engagement.

What is the Tuesday Push

I figured it was finally time for me to engage with this Tuesday Push malarkey (… I, know, I know… better late than never is probably going to be carved on my tombstone).

According to Damien Mulley, orchestrator of the “push”:

The Tuesday Push is a way for the small but growing tech community in Ireland to make some noise about ourselves by picking a good example of an Irish Tech Company and highlighting their product(s) every second Tuesday.

Louder Voice – reviews the way they were meant to be

The worthy recipient of this week’s “push” is LouderVoice (LV) – a great peer review site that makes reviewing products, services and anything else you can think of intuitive, easy and convenient.

You can post reviews via a variety of media: directly on the LouderVoice website, via SMS (so you don’t even need an internet connection – delighted or otherwise with that restaurant? Post a review while it’s fresh in your mind), through micro-blogging services like Twitter, you can even post reviews to your own blog and LV will pick them up from your RSS feed.

Cross-posting of reviews can work the other way around too (I think, although I haven’t done this yet): you post to LV via the web, SMS, Twitter or wherever, and LV will publish the review to your blog… which is a great way to keep things fresh and varied.

One of the best things about LV is the vibrant community of reviewers who contribute, which means that there’s plenty of conversation on everything from the best value wine to the latest tech gadgets to the most popular TV show and everything in between. It’s a community that’s growing all the time as word spreads and LV gains momentum, and as a consumer the benefits of exchanging information, ideas and opinions is obvious and compelling.

Reviews and your business….

But there’s another aspect to this conversation and interaction that’s often overlooked (and the reason I featured LV, complete with screenshot, as a great example of a review site in the Social Media chapter of “Understanding Digital Marketing”). This is a conversation you can participate in, yes, but as a business it’s also a conversation you can learn from.

Listen to people, find out what they’re talking about, what they like and don’t like. Even if they’re not talking about your product or services directly there’s a wealth of information and intelligence there that can help you to serve your customers better.

Of course, one of the best ways a business can use reviews in order to gauge consumer sentiment is to integrate review functionality into their own website – and if you want to explore the possibilities the all-new LV for business offers a suite of review services that are ideally suited to the purpose.

Anyway – the best way to find out more about LV is to start using it – so off you go and start reviewing – I’m looking forward to reading what you think.

NB. If you want your company to be considered for the Tuesday push you can submit your details online.

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Sep 122008
 

profile I’m working with CorkBIC at the moment to help revitalise the West Cork chapter of the small business networking group SOHO Solo.

Networking is a vital part of running any small business, and over the years I’ve found belonging to SOHO Solo invaluable in all sorts of ways. Yes, I’ve gained business directly from other members, and referrals, but for me the true value of the network goes far beyond attracting new business.

The true value of small business networking

When you’re working from home you’re often working alone. As I writer I spend much of my working week sitting in my office tapping away at my keyboard, as I’m doing right now. While I’m in constant contact with lots of people through online social media, e-mail and even the telephone (hey… call me old fashioned!), sometimes it’s important to get some “face time” with other people.

Meeting other people in person helps to keep you sane, and to realise that actually, there are other people out there facing similar challenges to you. Perhaps more importantly, you also find that there are people who’ve already overcome those challenges successfully, and are more than willing to share their experiences.

Attending a meeting is a break from the routine of the home-office, and is as much about human social interaction as it is about business, for me at least.

I find that SOHO Solo is a gateway to new connections, interesting perspectives and a vein of untapped expertise and potential. An exercise we conducted a couple of years ago unearthed a staggering wealth of experience in the SOHO Solos in west Cork.

We unearthed a former shipping executive running a wedding card business, a Swiss banker running an organic wine importation business, a marine biologist/Mexican taco vendor/IT Project Manager now running a freelance writing consultancy and wedding invitation business (that would be me :-)) and a whole host of other histories spanning an eclectic mix of industries and disciplines. The point is, SOHO Solo’s – or independent entrepreneurs as I like to call them – weren’t always “solo”, and bring a whole host of skills and expertise to networking events that aren’t necessarily related to what they’re doing now.

And the great  thing is that they’re only too willing to offer their help advice and support. They say a problem shared is a problem halved… but more often than not, with SOHO Solo I find that a problem shared is a problem solved.

Come and join the party

On Wednesday 17th September in the Celtic Ross Hotel, Rosscarbery I’ll be facilitating an open discussion on how SOHO enterprises can harness the power of social media to help their business. From market research to networking with peers to gauging opinion, online PR and consumer engagement, social media offers a suite of tools and opportunities for smaller businesses. Let’s explore some of them together….