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Prakkypedia

Corporate communications + Public Relations Adelaide

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February 2011

The 5 questions I’m always asked about Twitter

1. Why do you do tweet?

Answer: I tweet because it’s enjoyable and it gives back. Twitter helps you find friends, learn things, keep up with news and share what you find useful. I’ve also used it to boost my own profile and gain more clients; a nice side benefit, but not the main purpose. Twitter can make me laugh, smile when I’m down (cue the violins), alert me to a new opportunity or way of thinking, inspire me and invigorate me. Why wouldn’t I use it?

2. What do you tweet? (Aka: Who cares what you’ve had for breakfast?)

Answer: I try to focus my tweets on certain themes. One theme is my career and specialities (so I tweet about social media, mainstream media and PR). Another theme is my personal life – I share how my day is going, things that I find funny, news from my own backyard, and occasionally frustrations (though I intentionally try to keep this minimal. I don’t like reading whiny content, so I try not to produce negative content). Finally, an important part of tweeting is having a conversation with others – so often, tweets will be led by what my friends are talking about.

Five common questions about Twitter
Five common questions about Twitter

Some of my  tweets might be about a world crisis and yes, other tweets will be about what I had for breakfast. We all need a bit of fluffy buttermilk pancake in our lives.

3. How can you even read tweets? I don’t understand them.

Answer:  There are some abbreviations and well-established hashtags which may make tweets  difficult to interpret on the first look. But just as you’ve learned that NSW stands for New South Wales, you will absorb that ROFL means ‘roll on floor laughing’. It’s not impossible to understand, otherwise millions wouldn’t be using it.

Ironically, Twitter.com itself isn’t the best platform to use to read tweet conversations. If you can’t read conversations, then tweets can look strange and inpenetrable. Use tools like Hootsuite or even search.twitter.com to view people’s Twitter conversations, to really get a feel for the two-way nature of Twitter.

4. Where do you find time to tweet?

Answer: I tweet an average of 29.4 times a day. Where do I find the time? Well, it comes down to your phone. When I’m waiting for the train, I’ll send a few tweets from my iPhone (and Echofon is my favourite Twitter phone client). When I’m waiting for friends or clients at a café, I’ll tweet. When I’m sitting on the armchair during a TV commercial, I will tweet.

Twitter can nimbly fit into your life and needn’t be a time drain. If you’re committed to wringing the most out of the network, you’ll dip in and out during the day.

I’m not saying you have to tweet 30 times a day or even five; use Twitter as you see fit – but I find plenty of time.

5. Who ARE the people you’re talking to on Twitter? Aka: Aren’t you scared of stalkers/strangers?

Answer:  Good Twitter connections quickly become friends. Amazingly quickly. Maybe it’s a result of my years on Twitter, but I don’t feel like I’m engaging with strangers. It’s like we’re at a party and I’m happily meeting people.

Lots of my Twitter connections live in the same city, work in similar industries, and are interested in similar things. We get each other’s jokes.

Other Twitter friends are interstate or overseas, and tend to work in similar fields to me. We share information and ask each other questions.

On Twitter, you can build up a community of like-minded people, just as you do with your ‘real life friends’. You can also engage with people who challenge you, with alternative views and values.

And yes, I’ve left the confines of my house to meet a ‘stranger’ in real life. Lots of times, these are done via larger ‘tweetups’ and then develop into individual friendships. I haven’t met a tweep yet that I’ve been disappointed with, or surprised by – they all have been true to their online personalities.

So – the people I’m talking to? They’re mates that move around in similar spheres to me; whether it be geographical or professional or cultural.

What about you? What’s the question you’re asked most about Twitter? Or, if you’re not on Twitter, what would you most like to know?

Why I’m quitting Foursquare

Once upon a time, a long time ago (January 2010 to be precise), there were two little Adelaide Foursquare users.

Their names were Michelle Prak and Tom Williamson.

These Adelaide dwellers joined Foursquare so early there wasn’t even an ‘Adelaide’ listed on the site. (So Michelle pretended to be a Melbourne dweller). There were no local friends and things felt quite lonely.

Prakky demonstrates iPhone use
Prakky demonstrates iPhone use

But I think it’s safe to say that the two of us, as social media consultants, were excited about testing out this new location-based tool, which was receiving a lot of buzz in the US. For my early thoughts, see the Foursquare blogpost I wrote in January 2009

Since then, I’ve been a daily Foursquare user. I’ve gained plenty of virtual badges, Foursquare friends, and I’ve won and lost Mayorships. I initiated Adelaide’s first Foursquare Swarm and had fun seeing some of  my best social media friends come together.

For more than a year, every time I visit a café or restaurant or shopping centre or bar .. I’ve taken my iPhone out of my handbag and dutifully ‘checked in’. This has become part of being Prakky.

And for what?

All this time, I’ve been waiting for Adelaide businesses to come on board. And aside from Tom’s drinks offers via The Hwy, I’ve gained no recognition from the businesses I’ve patronised.

What’s sustained my interest in Foursquare? A little bit of self branding. A little bit of virtual badge fun and competitive fun when it comes to Mayorships. And, as a social media consultant, I felt an obligation to embed  myself in Foursquare for the long term.

But enough’s enough.

De Luca’s closure should have rung the warning bells.

De Luca’s coffee shop was one Mayorship that was dear to me. During the working week, I bought a coffee-a-day from De Luca’s, a fledging new café, where I was on a first name basis with staff, where I could meet clients, where I knew the coffee tasted great.

Tussling over the De Luca’s Foursquare Mayorship with other CBD workers was fun. I held quiet hopes that one day De Luca’s would recognise social media tools like Foursquare, and that they’d hail the Mayor and offer me the occasional free coffee. Not too much to ask, no?

And then, one day I walked into De Luca’s for my daily latte – and the staff announced they were closing down. (Despite me checking in every day. It didn’t make an impact on their business one iota).

So .. deep breath. While it’s going to be hard for me, I’m going to say goodbye to Foursquare for a little while. I won’t delete my account. I won’t slam the door. But I will stop checking in.

And maybe one day, if Adelaide businesses start offering Foursquare incentives, or I see my friends using Foursquare to find each other through developments like this … Prakky might come back.

Australian social media conferences 2011

It seems to be that time of year when Australian social media and digital comms types are casting about for what conferences they might attend. It can be hard to compare our choices, so this blog might be of some help in summarising what’s out there.

Landmark Digital Directions

Sydney 3 March 2011

“Digital Directions is a one-day international gathering of the world’s leading digital media executives and entrepreneurs, showcasing global best practice in digital media innovations. Ten international guest speakers will share their expertise – examining changes in media and technology strategies, the preferences and behaviours of consumers, as well as the brightest digital revenues”. Follow @DigitalD2011 on Twitter.

Frocomm’s 4th Annual New Media Summit 2011

Sydney, Tuesday 22nd & Wednesday 23rd March 2011

“This conference covers the key digital trends in the PR industry, and offers fantastic case studies”.

I prefer when conference sites list the actual speakers, rather than organisations, but at this stage an organisational list is all Frocomm’s site is offering You can access the speakers list, by delving into the Program. Thanks to @themediapod (also Frocomm Chair) for quickly pointing this out on Twitter. Also follow Frocomm founder @GlenFrost.

CeBIT
31 May – 2 June 2011 at The Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour, Sydney

The  “WebForward Conference 2011 will take a closer look at the latest trends in Digital & Social Marketing, Search, Web and Mobile Marketing to ensure you make the most of the opportunities given by these powerful tools.” Follow @cebitaus on Twitter.

iStrategy Global Digital Media

Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre, 17-18 May 2011

iStrategy’s Australian Conference will be held in Melbourne (there are others held around the globe). “ iStrategy will offer speakers with expertise in every online channel, a wide-range of attendees for exclusive networking opportunities and workshops with actual learning scenarios.  If building a high-performing, integrated marketing strategy is important to your corporation, then iStrategy Melbourne is a sound investment.” Follow @istrat_buzz and #istrategy on Twitter.

ConnectNow

Dates to be confirmed.

I attended ConnectNow last year and it had a rockstar line up including Solis, Vaynerchuk, Papworth, Heaton and Rowse. Dates haven’t been released as yet for the next one, but it’s well worth keeping up with @marketing_now to see what’s planned for the next event. It could be massive!


So how do you choose?
As is usually the case, the organisers behind any of these conferences publish a long list of the people who “should attend”. While that’s handy to gauge what type of market the conference is catering to, be mindful that it’s a big catch-all to get bums on seats, and you should focus on the program. Do some fact-checking on the speakers to ensure you’re going to get relevance and value.

What are you thinking of attending? Please contribute any relevant conferences I  might have missed ….

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