Monthly Archives: July 2011

Does Grace Dent get Twitter marketing?

I don’t know if anyone heard Grace Dent on Woman’s Hour ? She was talking about her new book How to Leave Twitter – by all accounts she loves it, so I don’t know why she wants to leave it.

In amongst all the praise for smart funny women finding a home on Twitter she mentioned in passing that Twitter was no place for companies or business messages of any kind. To her it was laughable that anyone should try to use the medium for anything other than smart chat, information and news.

Now while I agree with most of what she has to say about the wonders of Twitter I was bemused by the fact that she had managed to miss the enormous shift in marketing effort towards social media.

I suspect that like a lot of journalists, the commercial world is quite simply that – another world. People who are tasked with selling or promoting things really are seen as the lowest of the low in the world of the sassy media commentator, so I am not surprised that she has missed the biggest group of Twitter users of all.

But just because she chooses not to notice us doesn’t mean that her incredulity doesn’t have a point. How can people expect to sell stuff on Twitter and not have people see right through them – is what she wants to know.

Are you going to tell her or shall I?

I suspect that Grace may enjoy having her queries or complaints answered in real time by a multinational company. Perhaps she might like weather updates about her chosen holiday destination or amusing online banter with her hairdresser? Could her local estate agent help her find a new house or her local deli tell her what specials they’ve got using the medium in a non threatening and un-salesy way?

So go on Grace, follow a few commerical ventures and I promise you you will find some wonderful Twitter marketers doing everything right.

Have you got any ideas on how to win Grace over to the dark side?

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Can we rise to the challenge of the Murdoch massacre and make something better?

I can’t blog about the media on a day like today without mentioning the Murdochs.

I know some people are bored with it all and have said so vocally on twitter – but I say to them – how can you be bored with something which gets to the very heart of how our world is run?

So today is Murdoch Tuesday – the day he and his top troops appear before a UK parliamentary committee to face the accusations that they bribed top police officers and hacked the phones of murder victims families.

The specific accusations reveal the entire organisation to be shabby and low, but let’s be clear, they simply reflect the methods by which this family sought to control governments across the globe.

In my school days it was fashionable to ridicule sociologists who argued that those who controlled the media controlled society – to have such a view would mark you down as some sort of Marxist. I invite you to consider that proposition now, in the light of what we know.

Do you see Gordon Brown and Tony Blair and David Cameron as independent political leaders shunning all influence and ruling according to their principles or do you see people clutching glasses of wine at endless Murdoch receptions attempting to stay within the News Corps circle of influence?

After years in which the pressure built up within this story, the tipping point came with engulfing speed. The fall of the Berlin Wall came to mind and the end of Soviet Russia – it reminded me that change DOES happen. Day to-day  inertia lulls us into thinking that nothing moves and that society trots along  the same as it ever was but of course the evidence show us this is not true.

The challenge is to use such enormous ruptures in society to make something better. What are the chances that this will happen?

Will the unveiling of endemic police corruption change the way we are policed? Did it change when the Met were unveiled as corrupt during the Soho years back in the 60s? Will the rules on media ownership change and will politicians take charge of their own agendas instead of listening to powerful tycoons from overseas?

You tell me.

Wise words from Sting shock!

Sting – him off The Police obviously – said something strikingly wise in a TV show I was watching the other night. It was during a programme called “Secrets of the Pop Song” which is still available on BBC i-player if you’re quick – it’s a great series.

He said that as we get older or better at something, the critical faculty starts to strangle the creative one, bringing the whole process to a grinding halt. He talked about his kids, who are now young musicians – they write songs all the time, sometimes several a day but for him creativity has slowed right down, leaving him with only a handful of songs a year (and some of those on a lute!)

This seems to me to be true. As we get older, we sabotage our efforts with our  fears; “what if it’s no good – how does it compare to Every Breath You Take – can I actually write anymore?”

Seth Godin refers to something like this when he talks about the lizard brain which jumps in to mess up our work. That lizard is only trying to protect us – but unfortunately it is trying to protect us from the inconvenience of success.

The Sting thing though – this is something slightly more nuanced – the fear that comes from having done something naturally and exuberantly once, only to find the critical voice creeping in.

Well do you know what – I feel a bit like that right now.

Sadly Mr Sting did not leave us with the answer, that’s something for you and me to work out but whatever it is, let’s hope it doesn’t involve anything too tantric.