23 Jan

Google+ – do you hangout? Would you hangout?

google_plus_logo

 

In one of my roles as a social media / content manager, I am currently looking into the world of webinars, and online group discussions – and specifically the pro’s and cons of Google+

The idea is to schedule a regular event for discussions around particular area of business.

The content/format is still under discussion, but I am more concerned right now with the broadcast method.

When Google+ launched, I was as excited as the next geek, (but then I was excited about Google Wave, nuff said).

Plenty of people seemed to be using it for one-off events, regular scheduled hangouts and general chatting.

However, I wonder if the hype had passed, or if people were put off from using it, if they were not a Google+ user.

I took to Twitter, to find out:

View the Twitter responses on Storify, here

My concern is that it is does appear to be “social media” people who are currently using it.

Is it a barrier to the less techno-lusty? (this business is not focused on social media, so will need to cross a wide interest and ability level)

 

I’d love to know your thoughts?

If you have hosted a hangout, have you found your users are happy to get onboard?

 

14 Jan

Hello Culture Data Visualisation

A data visualisation / infographic showing the results of a survey of young people about their arts activities

The graphic was created for a downloadable PDF report about the Hello Culture conference

The colours matched the corporate branding of the Hello Culture brand, and the division between live and non-live was decided by the client.

The chart was created in Tableau, and manipulated in Adobe Illustrator

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06 Jan

Will this app solve the Jewellery Quarter parking woes?

JQ Parker screengrabIt’s no secret that parking in the Jewellery Quarter can be troublesome.

18 months ago the council introduced a new parking permit system giving residents and local businesses access to more spaces.

However, this really doesn’t encourage visitors to the area, who will inevitably spend a frustrating Saturday afternoon trying to locate a space.

Now the US iPhone and Android app Parker has landed in the UK  – and is trialing it’s service in the JQ.

Using data from sensors in the road, the app can report on whether the parking bay is in use – allowing drivers to zone in on roads with spaces.

Sounds simple doesn’t it?

There are plans to roll this out into areas of Birmingham city centre if it is successful.

05 Jan

How do you blog? Just do it

As part of my recent New Year Resolutions I mentioned blogging – and more specifically, how I’d like to blog more.

Here are a few of my thoughts about the process.

But I wonder – what stops you from blogging more often?

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What I like about blogging is the fact you don’t need to spend hours slaving over an article, creating a story arc or creating a masterpiece – you just need to get the information out there, whether that takes 3/4 paragraphs or a photograph with  comment.

However, that’s one of the hardest things to teach someone else, whether it’s a student or a client who wants to develop their own blog.

Students or clients will always produce a “print style” for their first few blog posts.

Also, I’m not saying that you should NOT write long form posts, just don’t wait weeks to post, if you have a nice thought buzzing around your head. 

The problem is, unless you are an experienced writer, with hours to spend, this long-form writing style is VERY time consuming.

I don’t know the number of blog posts I currently have in DRAFT mode, because

  • I ran out of time
  • I ran out of ideas
  • The idea was never “finished”

In fact, if I’d simply posted the bare bones of the idea I may have received some interesting feedback or ideas to move the post forward.

So why are new bloggers so reluctant to post short unstructured updates?

  • habit
  • personal satisfaction
  • professionalism
  • keeping client work under wraps
  • keeping work-in-progress under wraps
  • writing is your “thing”

Habit

tumblr-webtreatsetcBy the time young people reach university they have (more than likely) just finished 4 years of exams. If they are coming across me at Uni, there’s a good chance they’ve been studying humanities – traditionally the more essay-based subjects.

For them, producing a piece of work is about the introduction, content, summary and conclusion.

Similarly, clients I work with are still locked into the idea of long-form reports, and even hark back to the days of university or school essays.

PLUS, people are still tied to this “newspaper/magazine” article idea – even the younger generations – as they’re as exposed to long-form structured articles via sites like BBC News and newspaper sites as the rest of us. Every piece that appears online is a long form essay, or article.

Personal Satisfaction

There is something fulfilling about writing a well structured article. It’s the closest thing many of us  will get to being “published” – and it’s a rush.

We all know that a paragraph featuring some disorganized ideas or random ramblings would not end up in The Guardian, so why should it end up on your blog?

However, if you get around to writing one brilliantly-structured article, then what are you proving? Not much.

You can show off your ideas, your creativity and your writing talent just as well with short, more frequent posts.

Professionalism

blogger-logo-square-webtreatsetcIt does require a level of bravery to just “put it out there” – you’re opening your self up to criticism and potential ridicule.

What if people think I’m biased or an idiot?

You know the answer?- be honest, tell the world that you are just “putting it out there”

Start your blog post by explaining what you are about to say – ie “I’ve been thinking about XXX. I know there’s a big debate there – here are some of my early thoughts but I’d love to know what you think”

Immediately the reader is not expecting a well-formulated article, but a jumping-off point – a debate that then can get involved in.

Keeping Client Work under wraps

It makes sense that, if you are working on a confidential client project that you would not want to blog about it in small bites.

You don’t want to breach a confidence – and that’s commendable. However, you may attract more work if you show you are actually doing something.

Talk to your client – you never know they may be happy for you to write about your experiences and work in progress.

I tend to blog about my client design work on a Tumblr site but I keep it very theoretical, never revealing the final art work (until the client has) but I simply muse about the process and any hitches.

Talk to your client – you never know, they may be glad for the extra exposure.

Keeping your BIG PROJECT under wraps

Say you’re working on a big TV documentary, launching a start-up or writing a book.

Why on earth would you put all that online for everyone to see, when someone could easily steal your idea?

Writers sending pitches to large media organisations are always encouraged to mail a copy of the manuscript to themselves as well, a trick that can be useful for future copyright claims.

Think about this: if you blog about this – you’re automatically taking ownership. You’re telling the world that this is YOUR idea, and that you are already working on it.

In addition – by showing you’re working-out (like you were encouraged to in maths and science exams) you’re showing you are genuine, knowledgeable and open.

And who wouldn’t be interested in that?

 

Writing is your “thing”

I know writers. For them, putting anything out into the world that is not completed, polished and a masterpiece would be a crime. For them, writing is their thing, and everything they put online is their portfolio.

Maybe the answer here is multiple blog sites?

Despite all my musings on “short blog posts”, most of the ones on this site are structured ideas (albeit written in one sitting)

However I tend to use my several Tumblr sites for less structured brain dumping.

If writing is your craft, and you want to keep your portfolio site pure – why not branch out and use a separate site for more informal musings? Link to it, don’t link to it – that’s up to you – but it does give you an outlet to relax a little

 

So come on then – what about you? How do you blog?

All content (c) Caroline Beavon 2020