Five Thoughts about Twitter

I have been on Twitter 7 years and 2 months. I joined twitter because so many of my then clients where tweeting. Interestingly many of those early advocates are either no longer on twitter or only tweet sporadically. Such a change from their early zeal. My first tweet was unsurprising more of a broadcast. Hey, I was finding my way. Since then I have tweeted almost 20,000 tweets. Twitter trends have come and gone as have a number of followers. Still there are things that annoy about twitter. Actually not about twitter just the way some people use twitter. So here are my five thoughts this week. In short they are the five most likely reasons I will unfollow you.


  1. You insist on telling me your twitter stats, daily, weekly and monthly (I don’t care). I realise this is an automated service you have signed up to. I admit the stats the service offers can be very helpful but I cannot understand what is to be gained by you telling me you are looking forward to reading my tweets, have gained x followers today, this week, this month. There may be some strategy to using these type of tweets but I struggle to see what it is. You are indeed visible. Annoyingly visible.
  2. You are still using  Seriously does anyone ever read these curated piles of….. The only reason anyone opens one of these links is because they are mentioned. Ego and hubris are might drivers on twitter.
  3. You post links to websites I cannot read. Mainly to paywalled news sites. It so frustrating to see and link you might want to read and find you cannot read it unless you subscribe. Not frustrated enough it has to be said to sign up. Fortunately some tweeters let you know it is to a paywalled site. Saves me a click at least.
  4. You never engage with anyone. Not even a RT or a like for anyone or anything. All you do is tweet your own message, usually buy my stuff. I can only imagine that somewhere, someone believes this is the correct way to “do” social media. More likely they have convinced some fee paying client or their bosses that this twitter thing really works, look I have tweeted 100 times today.
  5. You have been a bit quiet on twitter lately and the way you decide to remedy this is by tweeting link after link to various websites. Sometimes not even different ones.
If you ever find me doing these things then feel free to unfollow me immediately but don’t tell anyone it’ll be our secret.

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Viral or Niche, where is your audience?

Once again my eyes have been assaulted by claims that this, that and the other has become a viral hit on the internet.

On closer investigation I discovered they didn’t really go viral. At best they were shared a good number of times but not really viral. Viral suggests reaching an audience way beyond your intended one. Let’s face it having millions of people viewing your video, post or photograph must be brilliant but in reality what does it achieve?  A million YouTube views. All that means is one million people clicked play. They may have clicked off after 3 seconds, got distracted and just not paid any real attention to the content anyway.

I am not saying numbers are unimportant but that they might not be as important as we think they are.

Maybe we need to examine them a bit more. If you make a video of a friends birthday party and post it to FB and everyone of your 600 friends on the platform viewed it, then you can say your video was a success.  It reached everyone of your intended audience. Beyond your Facebook friends your video has no audience.Maybe we need to re-examine what we deem success in the social media world. Huge audiences does not necessarily imply huge engagement.We need to define our audience better and assess the success of the video or campaign, not by how many random people have watched it, but by the engagement it generated with our intended audience. At a recent Charity Comms event Joe Hall, online campaigns and communications manager, The Climate Coalition/ founder, Woo Hoo Yeah Yeah! shared this slide.


It shows an event was trending, surely a success, but the sharing was only amongst activists. As the next slide showed everyone else was unaware.


Numbers only tell a part of the story. It seems to me having plenty of committed activists engaged with your message is much better than a large mildly interested one.

How you define your audience is up to you but define it and reach it you must. Viral isn’t everything engagement on the other hand.

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Five Thoughts For Thursday – The One about STUFF

5Thoughts on Thursday Logo

We are assaulted on every side by information, misinformation and stuff.


Yesterday one of the top stories on the BBC website was the death of the actor Leslie Nielsen. This was followed by a host of tweets and Facebook statuses mourning the loss of this fine comic actor. Many reflected on how cruel 2016 had been so far, David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Alan Rickman etc. Bizarrely the Airplane actor died in 2010 yet his death was reported as if it were yesterday. I have no idea why.
The lesson is clear. There is so much information out there just how do we process it and, perhaps more importantly, filter it?
Here are my thoughts on the subject.


  1. Save the good stuff but don’t hoard. Read it, if not read in a week, delete it.

  2. Forget the useless stuff.

  3. Enjoy funny stuff.

  4. Share the good stuff.

  5. Remember not all stuff is equally valid.


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Thank you Martha Lane Fox

I, along with many others, tuned in last night to watch this year’s Dimbleby Lecture given by Baroness Martha Lane Fox.

Martha Lane Fox is probably best known as the founder of with Brent Hoberman but latterly has given her time to two governments as a Digital Champion.
The thrust of her lecture was for the establishment of a dot everyone, to make the UK the most digital nation on the planet.  She quoted the late activist Aaron Swartz who once said, “It’s not OK not to understand the internet anymore.”

The next day I saw this tweet from Baroness Fox;

martha lane fox twitter

Of course it never happened and it was never going to happen. I get the impression that many in the media see not being knowledgeable about the internet as a veritable badge of honour. A sign that they are somehow above it all and reasonable and proper debate and thought takes place away from the idle chatter and noise of “the internet”.

In this General Election “The Internet” is not seen as the real issue. The real issues are immigration, the economy, wages and jobs. Well try and get a job without decent access to the internet. Almost impossible.
Somehow we need to break this false dichotomy of new and old.

If a child spends time on a computer it is deemed, by many, to be wasted time. Time they should be using to climb trees, scrape knees play with other likeminded children and get skin cancer.

A child who locks themselves in their room and reads the entire Harry Potter series of books is seen as some kind of hero. No doubt a genius. Let’s gloss over the fact reading is a solitary activity and one where they are unlikely to climb any real trees or scrape any knees. At least they wont get skin cancer.

Once again it is the old world – good, new world bad.

Away from the media there are many in business who avoid the internet. In SME’s and boardrooms alike the internet is seen as unrelated to the real world of business. Let us hope they will realise it is not one or the other but both.

This year’s lecture was a breath of fresh air featuring as it did a call to action. This election I will be asking candidates for their views on superfast broadband, data security and the harnessing of the internet for the common good.

In the meantime I can sign the petition and back Baroness Fox’s call for a dot.everyone institution. I leave you with her words.

“Britain invented the BBC, the NHS – let’s not have a poverty of ambition – we can and should be inventing the definitive public institution for our digital age. If you like the idea, I have set up a petition at so please sign it.  And please blog, tweet, respond – lets start the debate.”

Sign the petition here

The Richard Dimbleby Lecture

A PS to show how far we still have to go.

I wanted to book a service for my car. I was extremely gratified to see my local dealer had an on-line booking page. I duly filled in the form with my name, car model, preferred day of the week and my contact details. I clicked send and received a message that they would be in touch. Four days and nothing. When I rang the garage they admitted they don’t really check their emails or notifications, “Always better to ring us” they said. Words fail me.




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