My thoughts on when to fwd, RT, re-post etc

This week has been a busy one for Bournemouth, hitting the headlines for a couple of the wrong reasons:

  1. The flash flooding
  2. The tragic loss of a red arrow at the airshow

We’ve also seen what has been dubbed as the “Schrodinger’s dictator” (conflicting reports of Gadaffi being alive and dead), which in a similar way closer to home also occurred with the red arrows pilot: some saying he was rescued alive by dog walkers, whilst others that he died on scene.

Add to this the false reports of riots doing the rounds on social networks and I felt a blog post was in order.

My thoughts in no particular order on when to RT / FWD or re-post:

  1. Please THINK before you post – it’s to easy to get caught up in the “first, first, first!” online culture.
  2. Forwarding unconfirmed rumors can become self-fulfilling (as I’m sure was partly the case with some riots around the UK). I saw (and due to past involvement in radio, started receiving phone calls!) a growth in rumors that the McDonalds in Bournemouth was on fire… having walked past it only 5 minutes earlier, I was quick to point out it most definitely was not to those asking me and subsequently onto twitter & Facebook.
    In the case of the pilot, whilst mainstream media was careful to state the situation of the pilot was unclear, many were saying he was alive – while I’m generally an optimist, imagine what his wife would of been going through if she’d been anxiously scouring the web for news…
  3. Consider the reliability of your sources – having a large number of followers does not necessarily make you either a reliable, or authoritative source – exhibit A: @queen_uk – a lot of people were RT’ing a post from a twitter account with a following in the ten of thousands, a quick look at it’s history made it clear it was a barely reliable (or literate!) source.
  4. Rule 32 of the internet: “Pics? or it didn’t happen” – if someone states something as fact, challenge them to provide proof, if in doubt don’t re-post or clearly label it as unconfirmed/unreliable.
  5. Use NSFW if the item you are forwarding is Not Safe For Work! (As a rule of thumb, if I wouldn’t share it with my mother, it’s NSFW).
  6. Remember not everyone loves: LOLcats / motivational saying / Jokes…

What would you add to the list?

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why I’m not at internet world

I went to Internet World 09 and I was really disappointed, I found it hard to say why I didn’t really like it.. apart from the poor quality of the talks I attended… now I think I know what it is.

It’s just such… an OLD and dated format, its interruptive, its all about sales and not content.

He who pays, talks – if I go to see someone talk, I want them to be an expert in their field, not just a guy with a chequebook.

Money generating not knowledge generating – it’s about selling stuff, not adding value… ok I cringed writing that, a bit of a cliche but it’s so true! If I look back at all the events I liked and hated this is the key difference

Why do we need it? – a conference, about the “internet world”? Stop and think for a minute, erm… isn’t there a better way?

Ok, I do get that it’s handy if you’re a huge product or a big buyer. Personally, looking for ideas, innovation, inspiration… it’s all about the smaller niche ones like:

ContentStrategyLondon10 – superb, an intimate gathering on a specific topic. Lots of good networking, 3 excellent speakers (and beer).

TEDxCDF – outstanding, inspiring speakers by invitation. It expanded the mind and gave me something back for my time. (Great Guardian write up)

BarCampBournemouth2 – with the almost anarchistic approach that anyone can speak, you build your own conference program and interact with almost all the other delegates.

Plus by not going, I’ve probably saved about a tree in brochures I’ll never read…

I asked on twitter if it was just me who thought it wasn’t worth my time:

“I’m bothering, but I’m not optimistic based on last year!”

“Yeah it seemed a bit s#!% to me too.”

“Not Definitely no need.”

“I’m not doing IW, did it last year. Too corporate, so many cheaper ways of doing the same things, not as handy as the A4Uexpo.”

So go forth, find the small get-togethers and un-conferences… expand your mind. Don’t give up your time to be sold at.

What do you think? Did you go to IW10? Was it any good?

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training, twitter and seminars

It’s been a busy few weeks here, with lots of training courses we’ve run on and off site and a visit to London for Internet World ’09.

I’ve also found that I’m using twitter more as a micro-blog and using this less, so if you wan’t to keep up to date with articles I think are worth sharing and other useful stuff, make sure you’re following me on twitter.

There are 2 things from all of this travelling and time away from the office I do want to write about:

1) I was asked during one of my sessions if twitter was “just the current thing”. Yes, Twitter may be a fad, micro-blogging / the real-time web / status updating is not.  For this reason, I make sure that any training is focussed on use of the tool and less on the tool itself.  Understanding why the way we use the internet is changing and how to utilise that, is far more valuable than a how-to twitter session.

2) Please remember that presentations are visual. I sat through a couple of talks at Internet World 09 and I have to say I was mostly dis-appointed (only one, on an exhibitor stand was the exception) – One session seemed to be behind the times, mentioning a technology that will “probably become available in the next year or so”… that I already use and in another the presenter just read off his slides (and people left during the talk). I won’t write an essay here on good presentation, but this is a basic point – DON’T READ OFF SLIDES! Slides should be used to re-inforce what you’re talking about, to offer visual interpretation of a concept or to entertain… not to mirror your speech, people read faster than they speak so your audience will finish before you’ve explained it.

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what if twitter

started charging to sign up?

Part of the value in Twitter for a user is the ability to communicate with a wider circle of influence than you might otherwise of been able, as the masses join twitter the danger is that the noise to signal ratio increases making it less useful – but what if they’d started charging when they hit a certain number of users?

Would it start to make some real money that so far it has only hinted at being able to earn? Would people of left the service for another? Certainly charging existing users, would create a mass exodus… but some of the attraction for early adopters is the exclusive club feel – that would be, in some ways, amplified.

This is a very hypothetical post btw – it came from being asked why twitter was anything more than “the next big thing” – in their words, “it was all about friends reunited, then myspace, then facebook… now everyones joining twitter – its just another fad, I’m not signing up”.

That conversation led me to the thought above and also to wonder, what’s the next big thing?

What if twitter IS just a fad?

Some people lose a lot of money, the cool kids move on, the spammers and randomness takes over – this is based on what some people would perceive happened to myspace as a platform, although I would argue its reverted back to its “native” state of being a good place for bands/musicians/DJs/performers.

So what do you think?

Is it a fad?

If so, what’s next?

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