Introducing the brilliant Facebook Earth!

I’ve been watching far to many Youtube demo videos recently so this hoax video really appealed to me.

It demonstrates the new service Facebook Earth – a combination of Google and Facebook.

Pure genius.


#Cumbriahour Social Media Discussion Summary, 15th April

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Have you heard about Cumbria Hour? (or to give it its real name, #CumbriaHour)

It’s a networking event on Twitter, mainly for businesses, taking place every Monday evening between 7pm – 8pm. #CumbriaHour was started by Michelle Masters in September last year, after seeing how other regions had successfully used hashtags on Twitter to group related discussions during set times. The difference with #CumbriaHour is that we usually have a topic to start conversations, but we aren’t strict, people can just come and chat, to interact and ask questions and get advice about all sorts of things, as well as share events and news etc.

I’ve taken part in various guises since shortly after it started back in September last year, mostly for @CumbriaBEN while working for CREA. I also created the #Cumbriahour blog which is used mostly for sharing and recording the different topics.

Last Monday’s topic was : ” What do you want to gain from Social Media? Ask us all questions to help you achieve it!”

As you can imagine it was a fairly busy hour, and I volunteered to try and boil it down to some sort of juicy essence. This has been quite a task, and not everyone may agree with how I’ve done it! The summary is a pdf document which can be downloaded by right-clicking on the link at the bottom of this post. I’ve included the on-topic tweets, removed all #cumbriahour tags and tried to group the tweets into subjects. These start with general social media, then moving into the different platforms. Posts have been kept in time order.

One very notable exception in the discussions was Facebook – it was hardly talked about at all! I wonder why? Perhaps it’s difficult to talk about Facebook in phrases of fewer than 140 characters. Maybe it’s not worth talking about (I doubt that). Has everything already been said? Is it so obvious that no questions are required? Is no-one on Twitter interested in Facebook? Not sure.

It was interesting how much blogging was talked about – and how it can be effective in influencing your appearance in Google searches. Google+ is also something that splits opinion – those who love it say it’s vital and those who can’t get into it perhaps don’t see the point. My opinion is that we will have to wait another few months before we can tell whether it is important. It’s been very slow to take off.

Pinterest, Youtube, and Foursquare also featured.

Pinterest is excellent for any business with very visual product – examples might be photographers, artists, designers, but also hotels, local events venues and anyone who wants to show a different aspect to their interests. It might be that you want to show your local environment, tourist attractions or favourite charities.

Youtube is obviously another visual opportunity, for sharing video tours of your premises, showing product demonstrations or for audio commentaries. For obvious reasons, it can be expensive to achieve good quality presence for some projects, e.g. hotel tours.

Foursquare enables businesses to record their physical location, it works well on Twitter and is similar to the “check in” option on Facebook. Users can use it to search for local premises so it can be important if you are for example a shop or restaurant.

The interaction between various components of Social Media remains fascinating to me – how certain combinations can be effective and others fall by the wayside. We are all still learning! I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Oh and join in! Will we “see” you next Monday?

Download – Cumbriahour Summary 15-4-13


Olé – not many left (Read all about it)

I was contacted the other day by local paper News & Star reporter Jonny Irving, who wanted to speak to me about Twitter’s birthday. In preparation, I wrote the blog post below and sent him some by email hoping he’d use it in the story. He did!

Then there was a call from a photographer to come round to take a photo – which resulted in lots of tidying up so I could get my desk into some sort of presentable order.

I’d had a busy day planned so had to fit this in somehow, but the result was great, if a little embarrassing! I was part of a story which included an interview by my friend Michelle Masters (@MastersMich) and Rebecca Watson (@becciewatson), and honourable mention to the wonderful Grace Dent (@gracedent).

(Thanks to Michelle for volunteering me for the pic, by the way!)

The photo was huge…

See the spread here, incl photo of me at my desk:


Click on the image to read the text :


Oh and my diet starts again today…

On the Occasion of Twitter’s 7th birthday

On the Occasion of Twitter’s 7th birthday

Work on Twitter (according to wikipedia) started on March 21, 2006, when Jack Dorsey published the first tweet with the immortal words, “just setting up my twttr”. Not very profound!

I joined Twitter on August 9th 2007 (as @pinkpebs) after reading an article about it by @stephenfry, who is still one of the most famous tweeters. I really started getting into it more when I got my first Blackberry, and I could tweet from anywhere. It’s perfect for using on a mobile device.

As the old saying goes, “I remember when it was all just fields”. I’ve witnessed its development, through adding lists, linked hashtags, twitpic photos, mobile apps, automatically shortened URLs, and before it was linked to other social media platforms (i.e. facebook). It’s so much easier now! These are all features that today’s users take for granted. I can’t wait to see how Twitter develops in the future.

I find the lists feature particularly useful. It helps you to focus on certain streams without getting drowned by other useless detail such as what people had for breakfast. It’s true, you do see mundane tweets, but people see Twitter as their companion and you are free to follow or unfollow. If you find someone annoying, just dump them!

Hashtags are great for tweeting during a sporting event or TV programme (for me it was the Olympics and Big Brother, I’m somehow now ashamed to say). Using the hashtag system you can join in specific conversations and connect with people all over the world talking about the same thing.

The hashtag search facility has also been particularly useful for virtual networking events such as our very own #CumbriaHour, which now sees hundreds of local businesses interacting every Monday from 7-8pm.

I set up Cumbria Social Media to link individuals or companies who need help with Social Media to those who are able to provide it. I can also provide personal tuition or I also offer a business service to post as part of their overall marketing strategy. I particularly specialise in businesses of a scientific or technical nature as I have a strong background in this area.

If you’d like to know more please contact me!

Northern Networking

I attended the Eden Futures event in Newton Rigg last night and introduced myself to some previously online-only contacts; it’s always better to meet people face to face.

It was the last time I was to attend representing my current employer, and tomorrow I move onto other things.

The last six months have been very enjoyable, as I’ve had the chance to learn new things, talk to lots of new people and visit various different businesses I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to.

So it’s taken until my ripe age to discover the wonders of networking, and on balance I mostly enjoy it. Although it can be a bit awkward at first, and there are always people there more confident than me, I’ve found most attendees to be open and friendly and very quickly the room warms up.

The first time I attended an event on my own I had pre-arranged to meet someone there to be my Buddy, which worked out great because it made the first few minutes much easier because I had someone to aim for!

If you want to try networking for the first time, get in touch and if I’m going I shall say hello and maybe be your Buddy!

The #CumbriaHour Opportunity – tonight

Did you know about #CumbriaHour ?

It’s a chance for Twitter users to get together and interact at a set time every week, and take part in a FREE virtual networking opportunity.

Many businesses have gained new leads and links through these Monday evening sessions, by logging into Twitter and discussing a topic between 7pm and 8pm – although these times are never strictly adhered to, and neither is the topic!

Simply include the hashtag #CumbriaHour to take part. You can learn more about how it works, and also view previous topics and results, at the blog here.

Tonight’s topic is quite a general one – an exchange of good advice, guest hosted by @Daviemartin.

We will be there, as @cumbsocmed.

Will YOU join us? 


A brief Google+ introduction

A brief Google+ introduction

A little while ago I received a short guide to Google+ from a friend after I said I just couldn’t get into it. He gave me these hints and tips:

Similarities to Twitter : Circle people instead of follow people. Create circles instead of lists. Supports use of #hashtag

Similarities to Facebook : Create posts with or without media attachments.

Google+ has a longer posting character limit than Twitter. There is a mobile App available, but it’s current version is bloated and hardly any different than just using the mobile webpage.

Unique features of Google+ : Can use text formatting for bold, italic, etc. Syncs with your Google account for some neat but very minimal features (like +1 webpages in Google Search to recommend them). Can do hangouts for webcam chats. Can share animated GIF files.

Don’t let Google+ confuse you! It’s just a reinvention of the wheel – Google’s way to get on the social media website band wagon.

Is it that easy?


With thanks to Scott Dallas – owner of the Internets

Do you use Twitter shortcut keys?

Did you know that if you use Twitter from their main homepage, you can use shortcut keys to navigate around?

This is especially useful for laptop users who may or may not have a mouse plugged in, or those who want to save a few calories of effort navigating via touchpad.

To see all the shortcuts available,  just type a “?” while the homepage is open. (If at this stage you still prefer to use your mouse, click on the cog wheel at the top right of the Twitter screen and choose “Keyboard Shortcuts” but this has taken much more effort I think you’d agree).

Twitter Keyboard Shortcuts new

These shortcuts aren’t new, and some of them will work with most pages (e.g. space bar – scroll down). I love the “.” for reload too.

Personally I think some of them take a while to get used to, and the ones in the left-hand column above don’t work unless you have a tweet highlighted, by using the other keyboard navigations i.e. “j” and “k” .

It takes a bit of practise but probably worth persevering with if you are taking part in some serious quick-fire tweeting.