#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

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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!