We Are What We Share

When AddThis launched it was a very welcome addition to the blogging tool set. No longer did we need to clumsily add icons or images and links to the bottom of each web page. We simply added a few lines of code to our blog templates and a row of sharing buttons would appear. Like magic.

But the best thing of all was the analytics. AddThis were ahead of the game in providing decent analytics your posts, click throughs and so on. In the process, they have accumulated a wealth of information about WHAT we share and WHY. This infographic celebrates AddThis’ five year anniversary.


How to Get Started with Infographics

Infographics can be fascinating. Done well, they can tell a compelling story, bringing data to life in completely new ways. But they can also be bland. Boring. Or worse – irrelevant.

Now, I have created a few infographics:

And while these have had between 1000 and 5000 views, they clearly could be better. And now, with this guide from Eloqua, maybe they will be. My first focus – “think ‘data narrative’”.

But what about you? Have you created an infographic (or 10)? What have you learned? What works? And which one is your favourite?

Infographics in 15 Minutes

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Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

Last week was a week that was dominated by the news of Steve Jobs’ passing. And no doubt, you have read several beautiful and powerful articles or remembrances – as did I. But I will leave the eulogising to others who knew – or loved – Steve Jobs.

  1. Adam Weinstein interviews the activists who kick started the #occupywallstreet movement – revealing the personal insight and impetus to claim the mantle We are the 99 Percent.
  2. On the same theme, Doug Meacham shared this link with me during the week. Think Occupy Wall Street is a Phrase? You don’t get it – is a great article by Douglas Rushkoff who suggests that this protest is a new net-driven counter cultural discourse. For those who are fascinated by the intersection of culture and technology (and I am one), it makes for fascinating times – and Rushkoff seems to provide a great context for this emergent movement.
  3. To determine whether your content driven strategy is delivering value, it’s important to measure a number of things. Which things is dependent upon your objectives, challenges and opportunities. Jay Baer breaks these down into The 4 Types of Content Metrics That Matter.
  4. Do you love Facebook – or is a double edged sword. Mark Pesce offers a brilliant alternative vision where we may in fact be Haunted by the Past in a Facebook World. Great stuff!
  5. And for anyone who loves words and writing, George Orwell’s 5 Rules for Effective Writing are a must read. Enjoy!

Design is Trust – Using the Nine Principles to Change Your Work Practices in Nine Days

I like the central theme running through this presentation by Jason Cranford Teague – trust. And while the focus is on design – mostly web design as it turns out – these nine core principles can so readily be applied to any business or communication challenge. They can be applied to advertising. To social media. To storytelling. To literature.

So as you are browsing through this presentation (and yes, the 100 odd slides will slip by quickly), think about your particular business challenges in light of the nine principles. Consider the changes you need to make in your current work patterns to deliver on each principle. And if you dare to, write down one thing you WILL do for each of the next nine days – taking one  principle per day.

And I’d love it if you’d also go one step further – to write a blog post about what you are doing. Each day. Nine blog posts. You know you can do it.

The Growth of Social Media [infographic]

When I first started blogging I could count my readers on one hand. Actually, on one finger. But as the months went by and I began commenting on others’ blogs and linking and discussing ideas, my traffic grew.

And sure enough, more people started writing blogs – and we’d link to each others’ articles and the cycle would repeat.

When Facebook and Twitter started to take off, so too did the amount of attention that these sites garnered. Corporate blogs started to provide more interesting and useful content – and next thing you know, this sideline hobby known as “social media” or more simply, “blogging”, began to morph into something completely different.

But how has it affected your life? Or the lives of your friends, colleagues and yes, even your enemies? This infographic from the folks at SearchEngineJournal show what the data reveals.


A Cup of Chaos #72: Fake Steve Jobs Signs Off

The news of the death of Steve Jobs has dominated the web for the last day.

There have been tributes, obituaries, montages and so on – but this is my favourite – a farewell from Fake Steve Jobs.

It is long, but well worth a couple of minutes of your time.


Your name, old friend, is the definition of hope.

Not literally, I mean, not if you

look up “hope” in the dictionary,

but you know what I’m trying to say.

And now, with you gone,

what happens to us?

Have we reached our peak?

Our zenith? Our apogee?

Or some other word that means the highest point

you can reach?

I think maybe we have.

Because here’s what I see.

I see

America in decline:

a civilization unsure of itself,

adrift, confused, puffed up

with phony patriotism,

an empire run by number crunchers,

by MBAs & investment bankers

by quick-flippers & angel investors

who make nothing

who build nothing.

But you, Steve–

you flew in the face of that.

You were the one who invented,

who created,

who said no,

that’s not good enough,

go do it again.

Go make it amazing




How We Hire in a Social Media World

As soon as I know I am scheduled for a meeting I do a search on the people that I am meeting. I’ve been doing this for years. But these days, I am finding much more information – personal, professional and social. There are Facebook accounts and pages, blogs, Twitter accounts, articles, pictures, movies and even LinkedIn recommendations. It’s a jumble – but if you let it wash over you, it’s amazing the kind of image that can be built up relatively quickly. For example, here’s what I found when I did a vanity search on visual search engine Spezify.


But does this sort of thing impact the way that others see us? In particular, does it impact our careers in a positive or negative way? And would you take steps, as Jye Smith recently did, to erase the past?

Forbes writer, Kashmir Hill shares an interesting report from social profile management company Reppler. The results from interviewing 300 recruiters tell an interesting story – 91% of those surveyed use social networks to screen candidates – and 69% claim to have rejected a candidate based on what they found.


On the upside, 68% have hired a candidate because of what they found on social networking sites. So clearly, it’s a double edged sword.

Why-employers-decided-to-hire-candidates (1)

But like everything to do with “social media” – hiring processes show that we are really just doing the same thing in a different medium. As Kashmir explains, at the end of the day:

It boils down to demonstrated creativity, well-roundedness, and the ability not to tell lies about their educational and professional qualifications. Surprisingly, no one said “Because they looked really hot in their profile photos.”

Even in B2B You Have to Think Like a Rockstar

Business-to-business marketing can often appear dull and boring. The messaging is subdued, the social media is lacklustre and personality? What personality, right?

Now, there are always excuses here – government regulation, brand guidelines, tone of voice or particular assumed audience needs. But these are merely excuses – not reasons. We should instead see them as challenges – for to succeed in B2B marketing, I believe we need to think like rockstars.

How does this work? Mack Collier has put together a great deck on the subject of rockstar thinking. He calls out four key points – but let’s think about these in a B2B framework:

  1. Rockstars are fans too: remember, rockstars don’t necessarily love their own music. But they do have inspirations, musicians and artists they respect. Pay homage to your inspirations – learn from what they do and bring their work and focus into the work that you do.
  2. Rockstars shift control to fans: if you are a rockstar what do you like to do? Yep – hang out with other rockstars. Think about ways that you can elevate your advocates – and empower them in unexpected ways.
  3. Rockstars find the bigger idea: what mission are you on? How are you improving the lives of people. How are you changing the planet? What is the difference you are making. Sure you can throw money at a problem, but what can you DO to change the game. Think about it, then DO IT.
  4. Rockstars embrace their fans: in the B2B world there are many stakeholders. How do you celebrate them? What can you do to recognise their help and their efforts? How can you answer their questions faster? Think about stepping out from behind the shadow of your brand to provide unexpected value.

B2B can be exceptionally funky – and can prove a fertile opportunity for out-of-the-box thinking. Do you have examples? I’d love to hear of them!

Would You #OccupyBondStreet in Support of #OccupyWallStreet?

With almost every breath we make decisions. About what to write and what to read. What to believe and what to discard. We follow our “hearts” but vote for political parties who work against our beliefs yet satisfy our materialistic aspirations.

The Occupy Wall Street protests continue to focus ever greater attention on inequality, corruption and greed.It’s a leaderless resistance movement that has spread slowly, but consistently from its base in New York across the US.

But I wonder.

It’s clear that We Are the 99% (after all, how many of the 1% read blogs, tweet or engage with the randomness of humanity that is Twitter?). But what does it take to shift from global recognition to local action? What would it take, from each of us, to go from affinity to sit-in? And more specifically, what are your personal boundaries and what happens when they meet your professional (or even moral) foundations?

I wonder would I (and could you):

Spend a night in the company of uncomfortable strangers under the lost stars
   of city streets
Or move beyond the words of a tweet, a post, an anxious tear?
Is there a place I would stand in, sit in, squat in in protest
    at the injustice of a world that validates me

Or does it all just seem too hard to bear?

Could I, would I, link arms with those battered by the inequities of time, place,
   education and happenstance
Or could I, would I, find my grain of truth
   that tastes like yours and smells so sweet?

Would I go so far as to find the words that change the course of time,
   that shake, endanger, explode our futures
Or do I fold my white knuckles in against themselves
Breathing stale air and broken promises?

How do we know the sound of history calling?
   And how is your call different to mine?
We answer only to the beats of our own hearts
   Counting. Changing. Stepping in time.

But in the cold, freshness of spring mornings
   it’s not a question of passion.

It’s knowing that your lone voice will be carried in the echoes
   of others. Dispossessed and connected. Dissatisfied yet free.

Or perhaps it’s none of these pungent vagaries.

Perhaps, at day’s end, it’s about doing what we must but also what we can.

So would you? Could you?

Or could you not?


Images: Courtesy PaulS

Capturing the Mood of Your Content

Face-Recognition-on-Guardians-images-640x408 The web is a highly visual medium. It is also very text heavy, especially in the social media domain. And while there is a great deal of effort spent on delivering text and stories that resonate with audiences and help drive search results, I often wonder how much attention is paid to the imagery placed into our blog posts, articles and so on.

The Emotional Breakdown experiments with the 24 Hours in Pictures feed from the Guardian, analysing the images that are posted for emotional resonance.

More interestingly, you can also run this analysis across your own websites. Simply enter your web address and Face.com’s facial recognition API will give you a sense of the audience impact all those pearly whites will have on your readers.

And given that this “social web” phenomenon is all about people and not technology, you’d think this is a no-brainer for your web design team, right? But I wonder, will we see A/B testing on images in the near future? Will this help the web be more friendly, or just add another layer of weirdness on top?

I guess it all depends on your mood.