Wednesday Jun 17, 2009

5 Things Sesame Street Can Teach You About Breakthrough Blogging

I came across this interesting article recently, comparing Sesame Street and blogging and I found the comparisons compelling and interesting indeed, so much so I would like to share it with you. In fact this site has some amazingly quick but interesting articles that may help you grow your prescence out on the internet and build a strong brand for your organisation.

They taught us about sharing and the letter Q. They taught us to jump rope in Spanish and how to count to 10. They taught us about life in the city, diversity, and the true love of a rubber ducky.

But did you know that Sesame Street actually has lots of lessons about how to be a better blogger?

There’s a reason Sesame Street is the longest-running children’s show in history. Actually, there are (at least) five reasons. And you can apply each of these to your blog, to create something that’s memorable, effective, and maybe even loved.

To read the full article go HERE

Friday Sep 19, 2008

Guest Post - Why is the UK not getting social media ?

Three things got me annoyed yesterday:

1) Not being at Web2expo - i'll get over that, i'm trying to get to Berlin ;-)
2) Preparing for a practical workshop on blogging only to realise that 75% of the time is going to be spent explaining what tags are and rss is rather than discussing how they can be of benefit to a business.
3) Control freaks - people who think that a little bit of knowledge think they know it all (won't go into that one!)

In particular, number two got me thinking that as a country, we are woefully under-educated when it comes to social media. Why are we still having conversations about what these tools are rather than what they can do for you?

I'd like to throw a few thoughts into the hat and see what people like Neville, Stephen, Steve, Becky, Will, Dave, Robin, Hugh, Jas, Stuart and maybe even Chris, Brian, Geoff and Pete have to say:

Is online social interaction (the principle of people/customers meeting online to share things and meet each other) SO far beyond people's grasp they just do not get what happens and what people do?

The idea that without your work hat on, "I don't use the internet like that , so why would my customers?"

Does the rate of change/growth of new social media tools scare IT departments or marketing/pr teams that anything they may decide to adopt may be obsolete in a few months? What about the sheer number of tools they could use? Is it realistic to expect a marketeer to keep track of everything that goes on?


Are we  our own worst enemies? Do we like to talk XML, php, css and other jargon too much that we actually alienate the very people we are hoping to adopt the tools we talk about?


This relates nicely in fact, to point number three. People who have traditionally been in total control of their customers (when their customers didn't know any better) are now petrified that they can't control what their customers are saying. Burying their heads in the sand won't work.

Previous tools such as websites, direct mail, press ads and email were great at telling customers what the brand wanted them to hear but now marketeers have to get their heads around the fact that those same recipients are talking back – just that they are telling other customers not them!

Tone of Voice

After decades of talking AT customers, brands are now having to talk TO customers. How do you talk to people you have spent years ignoring what they say? How should you speak to them? Learning THAT takes either a lot of listening, training or plenty of both.

Social Media Tools are "a phase" of internet growth

Several years ago (early 90's), when working for a large mail order company, the whole business began gearing up for this "internet" thing that was coming.

HR were booking training sessions for people like there was no tomorrow , business-wide email was starting to roll-out and you could sense that people knew something big and important was going to happen. 15 years and 1 billion online users later - they were right.

The impression I get of what many of us might call the proverbial "sea-change" in the internet is that social media and its associated tools are nothing more than evolution rather than revolution.

I'll end with some links to a couple of great posts, (from Suw who is organising the blogger outreach for the Berlin Web2 Expo and the legendary BL Ochman)all around exactly what I am talking about above as well as the Chris's 12 reasons why he thinks the UK isn't blogging or adopting social media tools:

1 - You don't understand why you'd want a business blog. Neither does your CEO.

2 - You are the CEO. And you're not going to allow your minions to blog.

3 - You think it is too risky to allow your colleagues to write blog posts.

4 - Your PR agency thinks blogging is a bad move.

5 - You mentioned something to the techies. It is in their development schedule.

6 - You haven't figured out who will contribute to the blog, or what you will write about.

7 - You can't see any benefits whatsoever. It would be a waste of time.

8 - You don't see any return on investment. It would be a loss leader. We don't do loss leaders.

9 - You have no clue about how to set up a blog.

10 - You think blogging is all hype / a passing fad / for kids.

11 - You are happy to ignore blog activity in the US. The US is a totally different environment for this sort of thing.

12 - You think blogging isn't right for your business.

This is a guest post taken from Paul's Blog  Blending the mix, Paul is a Client Services Manager at Digital Marketing Agency KMP. Part of his role is  to understand how best our clients can embrace social networks and blogging.

Monday Sep 15, 2008

Zemanta gets another round of funding, must have been those lovely Startup Essential Servers...:-)

Zemanta is a lovely Startup Essential customer who I met at Seedcamp/Future of Web Apps late last year who I donated some t shirts to, had a few beers with, talked about the world and how to create engaging content, well they have a solution for that and also some beautiful t shirts as well to match my lovely shirts, in fact we are all attending the beautiful shirt convention shortly. :-)

Well what does Zemanta do ? 

Zemanta is a service that's focused on helping the blogger/content creator make the process of creating their content simpler and easier. As you write, Zemanta processes all of your text (like a spell checker in a word processing program does) and suggests things to you. Currently, Zemanta suggests stories/posts/research you might want to read as you compose your post, images you might want to include in the post, words you might want to hyperlink out with, and tags for search engines and other services to use to discover your content.

Simple, but beautiful solution to a problem for people like me, how to create engaging content.

Why the interest today ?

Union Square Ventures (Fred Wilson fame) has invested £650k in Zemanta, and I believe the first ever investment in a Slovenian tech company by a US VC, and the founders of Zementa are leading drivers in the Slovenian tech community, and impressed me last year at Seedcamp with their insight knowledge and professionalism, and its great to see them gaining more investment to help grow and push the product out further. And also they run on some lovely Sun servers as well, so great taste in t shirts and servers.

Wednesday Jun 18, 2008 lives, bringing blogging to the masses  Lives and runs on Coolthreads  

So after many months of testing and perfection, we now have a live Startup Essential customer running on T2 based servers using MySQL and it's a 3 man startup that is so cool, they're hot. Nic Halstead CEO, has been driving towards this launch and working long hours to make his dream happen,  now it's live, want to see what it's about then go check out TechCrunch and Mashable for a detailed explanation, for me, it makes life simpler.....

So if you want your parents to be able to read more, know little about RSS, then go to  it out now, also tell everyone about the customer story as well, shows the power of Sun for a 3 man company.

If you aren't aware also, Nic has been helping tell startups why he
works with a $14bn organisation if you want to find out what that
means, tune in soon for the presentation on  but in the meantime check out the FEEDBACK.

Tuesday Jul 03, 2007

Blognation launched

So blognation was launched yesterday, Sam Sethi is bringing together a collection of editors globally, to present a true global picture of the Start Up community, this is an amazing achievement, and a blog to watch over the coming months, to see what is happening and where.


Good luck and I hope to see this one grow in audience reach very quickly indeed. 


What’s blognation’s goal?

We want to become one of the first sites that technology-enthusiasts,
bloggers, early adopters, fellow entrepreneurs and investors visit to
find daily updates on Web 2.0 technology, mobile and enterprise news
from all over the world. The English-speaking part of the world is
language-challenged: there are many excellent blogs in Spanish or
German about Web 2.0 start-ups, but if you don’t read these languages,
you’re stuck. We believe blognation solves that problem by offering
news about those start-ups only in English.


Thursday Jun 21, 2007

So a video blogging site, that brings you the news as it happens, watch this one, as gaining a following, but the content is in depth and some great speakers, also more to gain from watching than reading a transcript, this is the benefit of this new era, the ability to participate, share the knowledge and be there..
is a European video blog network covering the web2.0 ecosystem.

Our main objective is to take you to the major conferences and Web
events, visit the technologists for demos, interview entrepreneurs and
web workers, give you tours of cool startups and a first look at the
hottest web apps.

We will meet face to face with the
most interesting people and have open conversations with them about
their work, current projects and get their views on our industry.


Connecting the Startup Essentials community with all the events, information and resources required for them to grow and scale.


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