How commonplace books were like Tumblr and Pinterest

14 05 2013



Shared journals were an early form of social media, and the mass-media era may have been a historical aberration. These were two of the claims made by Lee Humphreys, a communications and media researcher at Cornell University, who gave a talk this week at Microsoft Research’s Social Media Collective. I agree with her on both counts, of course, though I would trace the sharing of journals back further, to the commonplace books of the 16th and 17th centuries.

Humphreys has examined in detail how people in the 19th century would share their diaries with visiting families and friends by reading aloud, in order to tell them what had been going on in their lives. She has also analysed the diary entries of Charlie Mac, a soldier in the American Civil War, which he copied out and sent home as letters to his family (and anyone else they wanted…

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vintage social networking

20 04 2013

A great reminder when you’re feeling “over-connected”.

Wrong Hands

vintage social networking

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Only 13% of businesses have a blog!

15 04 2013

success recipes for solopreneurs

This is a truly shocking statistic! I got this from an infographic done by Sarah Arrow about social media and small businesses.

One of the reasons why this is shocking is because it is a complete wasted opportunity. This is a vast area that is comparatively easy to implement that is just not happening.

In spite of a blog being classed as ‘technology’, it is not really that complicated. Many small businesses are quite happy to go onto Facebook and mess about with groups and pages, but they baulk at the word ‘blog’ because it sounds too hard to cope with.

Really there’s not much difference between a Facebook page and a blog. They should contain more or less the same information, but they will have different audiences. That’s why you should have a presence on all kinds of social media, because different people hang out on them and…

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What a Little Black Dress Can Teach Brand Managers About Social Media Marketing

8 11 2012

Anna Rydne Communicate (your) Skills

Social Media is the new black. A worn out phrase, yet it expresses the zeitgeist.

Social Media is a trusted media today, it’s not a fad. Today it’s as necessary in a brand manager’s marketing mix as the little black dress is in any womans wardrobe.

But the similarities don’t end there. Let me explain:

According to Wikipedia, fashion historians ascribe the origins of the little black dress to the 1920s designs of Coco Chanel, intended to be long-lasting, versatile, affordable, accessible to the widest market possible and in a neutral color. Its ubiquity is such that it is often simply referred to as the “LBD”.

As a dress person myself, I totally think the black dress should be the basic in every womans wardrobe. If a woman would be allowed to one piece of clothing only, she should go for the black dress. A black dress has saved…

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8 Reasons Why You Need a Social Media Whisperer in Your Marketing Team

6 11 2012

Anna Rydne Communicate (your) Skills

Content management is the new advertising. Writing is the new skill marketers need to excel in. Involving people is the new business goal. No wonder Social Media Whisperer is the latest job description in the marketing field.

What is a social media whisperer?

A whisperer is the word for someone skilled in taming wild animals. For example, as a child I wanted to be a chimp whisperer. (For the record, the dream didn’t came true).

A social media-, or data-, whisperer does the same thing, but for data. “A Data Whisperer is a person who is able to tame and control wild data, using the appropriate tools and techniques to turn it into useful information for business success”, David Binkley writes at

Social Media Managers can’t just send out their own content anymore: they have to engage the crowd, ask them questions, listen and create the content clients…

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Storytelling with Social Media

1 10 2012

I had in mind a post about social media and how everyone uses it for different purposes.  A fellow WordPress blogger provided the following inspiration:

Would You Behave Like A Prick If You Knew That There’d Be A Book Written About You?.

No matter who you are, or how you use social media, it really comes down to the fact that we’re all just trying to tell our story.

Personally, I use social media for a few reasons.  I use LinkedIn to develop professional connections (my career story).  I use WordPress for my blog and web site – to promote my business (my business story).  I use Facebook for entertainment, finding and staying connected with family and friends (my personal story), and – just today – I created a page for my business.

Personal users seem to share either a little (visiting occasionally to lurk and see what everyone else is doing) or a lot (some definitely enter the TMI realm) – games, memes, recipes, events, travel, shenanigans with family and friends, opinions, likes, loves, hates…LIFE.

Business uses are essentially about marketing.  Finding customers, communicating with them, and selling to them.  The challenge for business is the separation of the business identity from the personal profiles of its admins (particularly on Facebook).  Effective social media policies are few and far between – putting many businesses (particularly small business) at serious risk of damaging their reputation.

My current (9 to 5) role in local government has highlighted yet another use – public relations.  The posts we write (predominantly for Facebook but occasionally for Twitter) are about communicating Council (good) news to ratepayers – an additional platform for media releases that reaches a slightly different audience to the usual channels.  Social media has also improved our responsiveness to ratepayer issues.  We regularly answer questions, respond to criticisms, and quash rumours.  During natural disasters (floods and cyclones are a regular occurrence in our part of the world) social media has proven to be an essential communication tool.  It’s instant, it’s accessible through the mobile network, and we can get accurate and timely information to the community when they most need it.

If you use social media – no matter how you use it – it pays to remember that you’re telling your story, and (if you’re lucky) like any good book, it will be a story that people will read for some time into the future.  By all means share, but share with care.

Social Media – something for everyone

16 09 2012

Life before constant connection

It’s hard to believe, but just 10 years ago, no one had heard of the juggernaut that is “social media”.

If we wanted to keep in touch with friends and family, we had to use the phone or email or write the old-fashioned way – on paper, in an envelope, with a stamp!  I suspect there are quite a few kids (even teenagers) out there who have never had to use a stamp.  A sign of the times, maybe, but I do find this a bit sad.

Finding old friends from high school was almost impossible.  School reunions required a lot of effort – obtaining enrolment records and manually extracting the home phone numbers of each student’s parents and hoping that they hadn’t moved.  For a recent school reunion in 2010, we still had to follow this procedure, but the bulk of our old mates were found via Facebook.

Sharing digital photos was a slow process – sending photos to my mother involved attaching one or two photos to an email and, as broadband was not yet a reality either, waiting for my email system to crunch and grind away at those bytes and knowing that Mum’s computer would take about half an hour to download each one.  It was hardly worth it.  More often than not, we would print out photos at our local photo kiosk (2 copies of each of course) and send them in the mail.

Ultimate Networking

They may or may not have realised it at the time, but the creators of the World Wide Web created the ultimate networking tool – and, in the process, changed the world.  A framework that inspired (and continues to inspire) creative types to develop social networking, gaming and other communication platforms, that have brought us all closer than ever before to the rest of the world (sometimes a little too close).  Now, within seconds, we can share photos, videos, news, our life, our business, gossip, and inspiration.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.

I’m working on another post, which will look at different types of social media users and the pros and cons for each.  Stay tuned.

So, what’s out there?*

Facebook – Launched 2004 – 955 million active users (June 2012)

Twitter – Launched 2006 – 500 million active users (2012)

LinkedIn – Launched 2003 – 175 million active users (June 2012)

Google+ – Launched 2011 – 150 million active users (June 2012)

Foursquare – Launched 2009 – 20 million users (April 2012)

Pinterest – Launched 2010 – 11.7 million users (January 2012)

* I sourced the statistics from Wikipedia.

Not a definitive list, so don’t shoot me if I didn’t include your favourite.   Personally, I use Facebook and – to a lesser extent – LinkedIn.  I’ve tried Twitter but had trouble sticking to the 140 character limit (I just have too much to share).

Sharing – a fundamental human need

Whether it’s the act of sharing itself, or our need for validation and affection, which is satisfied when we share something that creates positive feedback, sharing is natural behaviour.  It’s not at all surprising that social media has taken off in the way that it has.

How do you share?

Now it’s my time to seek validation…if you’re reading this, please comment.  Share how you share – what social media platform, or platforms, do you use?  How often do you use social media?  Do you only use social media for personal purposes, or do you use it in your work / business life as well?

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