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Posts Tagged ‘training’

  1. Social media marketing course #3

    July 23, 2010 by superlative

    The third session of my social media marketing course was a bit more useful to me than last week, as it was all about marketing your social media presence in order to grow your audience and achieve whatever your marketing goals are. Essentially this meant how you can build up your followers on Twitter, although we did look briefly at Facebook Pages too and how you set up adverts on Facebook to drive people to you.

    Lots of the general Twitter stuff I was already familiar with, as obviously I use it all the time. So things like building relationships, responding to people and following back were all quite natural to me. We looked at a couple of good listings websites though, such as which holds lists of people grouped by category (i.e. their interests or fields of expertise). That might be quite useful, and I’ve already found a few people that I want to follow myself after using it. I’m a bit hesitant about it as a tool though, as often the lists are more than 100 people long, and you can bulk follow them via the TweepML website. On a new Twitter account, that quickly gives you a suspicious ratio of 400+ following to practically zero followers. Whenever I get followed by an account that looks like that, particularly one that has only tweeted a dozen times, I normally just block it as a matter of course. So I think you need to be a bit careful not to over-use list websites like these.

    Other than that, the only stuff that was useful to me in the session was the 10 minutes we spent looking at LinkedIn. I’ve never really used it before, although I registered on it ages ago, and from what our tutor said that’s pretty typical of many of the accounts on there: people register then never go back to it.

    I’ve had a more thorough look at it now, and it certainly does seem to have some potential for professional networking and certainly for job hunting. It is much, much more of a professional environment though, so I certainly won’t be linking my Twitter or this blog to it. I’m not sure either would make me look particularly good to prospective employers, and from what I’ve seen many employers are now looking up job applicants and even head-hunting people via LinkedIn.

    It seems to be more well-used within the private sector than the public sector, and at the moment I’ve found hardly any people I can ‘connect’ with on there, but I have at least filled out my profile properly now. One website I looked at also suggested using LinkedIn when job hunting in the reverse way to what you’d normally expect: yes an employer might look you up on there, but equally you can look up the profile of the manager for a post you’re applying for on there too, find out more about them, and you might even find you’ve got common interests that you can casually exploit at interview.

    This week’s session was partly spoilt for me by a boy I’ll call Yappy Talkerson. As I mentioned after the first session, the group is composed of people who know nothing about social media or computers, and then a couple of people who won’t shut the hell up trying to show off what they do know. It’s probably fairly obvious which group Yappy Talkerson belongs to.

    “Can you filter out individual people on Twitter so you don’t see their tweets in your timeline?” asks Yappy Talkerson.

    “No,” says tutor, “you can’t do that, but you can set up lists of your followers and limit what you see that way if you want to.”

    “Or you could use a tool like TweetDeck,” replies Yappy smugly.

    So, if he’s familiar enough with Twitter to know about TweetDeck and to know how TweetDeck works, then of course he knows that you can’t filter people on the basic Twitter site. So why the FUCK ask the question? Just to hear the sound of his own voice and show off what he knows about TweetDeck, presumably. Cockhead.

    In the other camp of people who don’t know anything about Twitter or computers or the world in general, I was amused to watch a sweet lady type “Twitter log in” into her address bar, squint at the Bing search results which appeared on the screen for a few moments, then carefully click on ‘Log in’ at the top of page and try to enter her Twitter username and password into the Bing log in screen. Bless.

    So that was my third session. Last one next week, and I’m actually quite pleased as the train journeys to Hastings are really rather long and boring. Will I be applying my new social media marketing knowledge to my work after that? In all likelihood, no. But it’s been interesting nonetheless.

  2. Social media marketing course #2

    July 16, 2010 by superlative

    Yesterday was the second session of my social media marketing course over in Hastings. Once again it was quite good, but I probably found this week a bit less interesting than last.

    In this session we had a look at the practicalities of creating your presence on social media, focusing in particular on setting up a Facebook Page. While it was good to be shown that, I only really needed about five minutes of instruction for it, and could probably have worked even that out for myself. It was relevant for quite a few of the other people though, as they really aren’t very techy and managed to fail abysmally at the task of ‘Find the “Create a Page for your business” link and click on it’. They seemed to need intensive personal coaching for that bit.

    Some of them also had considerable difficulty understanding the distinction between a Profile and a Page, and the fact that yes your profile technically is a webpage but that doesn’t make it a Page with a P. We did get there in the end. Eventually.

    Anyway, one of the more useful parts of the session was looking through some good (and bad) examples of Pages on Facebook, and some of the innovative ideas companies have come up with. One of the ones I like particularly is the Coca Cola Page, and the clever thing they’ve done with their image:

    By matching the background of the image to the page background, the bottle appears to sit seamlessly on the page. It is somewhat disappointing that the alignment is out by about 3 pixels no matter what browser I use, which negates a large part of the effect, but the idea is a good one and I might steal it for my own use in the future.

    Looking at some examples and then creating our own Facebook Pages was pretty much all we did in two hours, so I did feel like I hadn’t learnt a lot, but that’s OK. Next week we’ll focus more on how you start marketing your social media presence once you’ve set it up, so I think that will be more useful.

  3. Social media marketing course #1

    July 9, 2010 by superlative

    I went on the first part of a social media marketing course yesterday, and it was actually quite good. When I asked my boss if I could go on it I wasn’t quite sure how useful it would be, as I feel like I know a fair amount about Facebook and Twitter already. However, I don’t know all that much about marketing, and the course seems to take a very good, practical approach to what social media can do for your organisation. I only really asked to go on it so I could get some time out of the office, as I’ve basically got no work at all to do at the moment, but actually I think it’ll be very useful knowledge for me to have (and you never know, it might even help me to get a better job than this stupid potato-patch one*).

    In the first session we had a short discussion about all the millions of different social media tools there are out there and what they are used for, before returning to the fact that most companies are basically only going to be interested in Facebook and Twitter (and possibly YouTube).

    We then had a look at some case studies on companies that use social media well (e.g. Dell, who give away coupons via Twitter and claim to have generated $3m of sales through it), and those that have had fairly spectacular disasters with it (does anyone remember Habitat hijacking Twitter hashtags about the Iran elections to promote their goods? Very naughty indeed).

    The group of people on the course seem alright, but fall into two broad categories:

    • people who know nothing about social media and who go a bit glassy-eyed when you mention things like hashtags or more niche services like Gowalla
    • people who know a bit about marketing and/or computers and who won’t shut the hell up showing off their knowledge regardless of whether it’s relevant.

    There’s one guy, in the first category, who is into veganism and animal rights campaigning and who I think would be possibly the worst dinner party guest ever. I quite like animals, but they really are very tasty and I don’t want to hear someone banging on about why we shouldn’t chop them up and put them into delicious burgers.

    Another guy made the fairly sweeping statement of “No one with any morals would buy anything made by NestlĂ© anyway.” I might have to keep an eye on that one, and push my Kitkats down to the bottom of my bag.

    Of course there was no one fit there, despite my hopes that there would be. Why is there never any boy candy at any of the work things I go to? There must be some somewhere, surely? But apparently not.

    There are three more sessions to go on the course, one each Thursday morning. I hope it will be useful. I know of course that I’ll never get to use any of it in this job, because when I suggested we have a Twitter account here I was told in an aghast tone “but we already have a website!” No amount of explaining would convince them they aren’t the same thing, or reassure them that Twitter doesn’t cost any money, so in the end I thought fuck ’em. If they don’t want to be on the ball with new communications media we can just go back to fucking morse code.

    * I refer to it as such because it is rapidly turning me into a vegetable.

  4. A lot of fuss about nothing

    April 3, 2009 by superlative

    Well my anxieties about travelling to London during apocalyptic civil unrest proved to be completely unfounded, as I sailed quite happily up to London and back without seeing a single protester. I don’t think there were as many people around yesterday as there had been on Wednesday, and the only evidence I saw that there may have been some protests somewhere was the occasional policeman in a yellow bib.

    My training was hmmm alright. It was run fairly satisfactorily, but was quite different to what I thought it was going to be on paper and actually wasn’t relevant to what I needed at all. So I learnt some things, but will probably never use them. Still, it was a day out of the office, and I actually got home slightly earlier than I do normally, so I’m not really complaining.

    Friday again today, I don’t know where the weeks are going at the moment. Time is really flying by without a lot actually happening. Might try to make it to Popstarz tonight, or if not then to Revenge tomorrow (or maybe both! But let’s not get overexcited).

  5. If I’m not back in 24 hours

    April 1, 2009 by superlative

    I have to go to London tomorrow for some IT training that I’m not particularly interested in. Where am I going? London Bridge. And where was one of the gathering points for G20 protesters today? London Bridge. Typical!

    So I don’t know what’s going to happen now, I’m just going to head up there and see. I think I might be alright because the protests tomorrow are more likely to be over in the Docklands near the ExCel thingy they’re having the actual summit at. I suppose the train could be crowded with protesters or something, or I might have trouble getting home, but I just won’t know until I’m there.

    It’s a bit annoying though. Of course the G20 summit wasn’t at the forefront of my mind when I booked the stupid training, why would it have been??

    I’ve been following the protests today both on the BBC live webcast and on Twitter. It’s been mostly quite controlled, with just the windows at a branch of Royal Bank of Scotland smashed and some isolated violence with the police. From what I could see on the webcast it was a few trouble makers trying to incite the police to fight them, while the rest of the protesters looked on a bit uneasily and wondered if they were going to get baton-charged. One of the main problems seemed to be that even once some of the protesters wanted to leave, the police wouldn’t let them. I wasn’t quite sure about that, I suppose if people were moving and regrouping all over the place the police would get easily overrun, but it seemed a bit stupid when some people actually wanted to go home and were being forced to keep protesting.

    So we shall see what happens tomorrow. Hopefully if it’s bad at London Bridge I will find out early and can just turn around and come back. I’ll be more annoyed to get stuck in central London and not be able to get a train back home.

  6. Confident Speaking

    March 5, 2009 by superlative

    My confident speaking course yesterday was actually better than I was expecting, and may even have verged on useful.

    We had a nice discussion in the morning on what makes public speaking difficult, and then we did a small practice presentation just to two other people to ease us into it. The afternoon was run by George Palmer from EastEnders (or Paul Moriarty as he likes to be called), and he focused mainly on how we use our voices, how we project, and ways of engaging with your audience. I probably enjoyed this bit the most, although it involved some weird voice exercises like bellowing “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day” at a complete stranger over and over again. I think it was quite useful though, and we learnt how to breathe in order to add more power to our voices and things like that.

    And then we were supposed to end on a three-minute presentation by each of us to the rest of the group about a subject of our choosing. But in a rather anti-climactic way we ran out of time so only half the delegates got to do their presentations, and it rather undermined the point of the whole thing. I didn’t do mine, but I wasn’t that bothered because I didn’t want to do it anyway.

    So yes, it was fine, better that lots of other courses I’ve been on. I suppose one of the key things we learnt was that although we don’t like public speaking, we’re probably not as bad at it as we think we are, and people don’t tend to notice even if you are a bit nervous.

    I wouldn’t say that I’m now going to be massively confident in speaking in public, but if you need the first line of a sonnet bellowed in someone’s face, I’m your man.

  7. Lack of confidence in confident speaking

    March 3, 2009 by superlative

    I’m off on a confident speaking course tomorrow. I don’t really want to go any more, it seemed like a good idea at the time when I booked it. I think I was mostly focusing on the free lunch though and the fact that it’s a day away from my desk.

    I suppose it will be alright… I don’t want to go because I know they’re going to force me to stand up and speak in front of the rest of the group, but I expect that’s the point. The afternoon part of it is facilitated by an actor from EastEnders, not that I’ve ever heard of him, but I don’t watch it very often.

    So anyway, maybe I’ll come back tomorrow with a new-found confidence when speaking in social situations and when doing presentations and things. It’s possible. But it’s far more likely I’ll come back and completely disregard everything they said in the course, as is always the case with all staff development events everywhere.

  8. Training and atheism

    September 25, 2008 by superlative

    The training was better than I expected actually. I found it all very easy, but I still learnt some things I didn’t know, and corrected some things I thought I knew but apparently didn’t. The only annoying thing was the bizarre woman sitting behind me who during the afternoon started mewling like a kitten at everything the trainer said. She kept going “Hmmmm….. Mmmm hmmmmm…. Hmmmm?….. Hmmmmm!…… Mmmmm”. I was thinking a) shut the hell up, and b) this must be what having sex with you sounds like. What the hell was she doing?? Did we all really need to hear her quizzical squealings all through the afternoon? It also sounded quite like she’d had her mouth taped shut. I wish they’d done her nose as well.

    Yesterday I also started reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, on Chris’ recommendation. He’s been terribly fired up in his atheism since he read it. Atheism is a nice word actually when you break it down into its component parts. Anyway, I’ve only read the preface so far, but I’m already enjoying it. He’s used the preface to demolish the criticisms of earlier editions of the book, by looking at each one, deconstructing it, and then explaining why it’s wrong, e.g. ‘the book is strident and shrill’ – no it’s not, it just says things certain people don’t want to hear without pulling any punches, but is still less strident and shrill than those people themselves; ‘the book is as fundamentalist as the people it condemns’ – no it isn’t, he argues based on logic and the evidence available, if people want to show him compelling evidence in support of religion and creationism, he’ll happily change his mind – a fundamentalist would not.

    So anyway, I’m sure I’ll enjoy the book, and it’ll probably turn my fairly vague and slightly guilty-feeling lack of belief in God into full-blown atheism. I already like his first main point: there are no religious children, only children of religious parents – they’re not old enough to have a position on religion, in the same way that they have no position on politics or economics.

    Blogged with the Flock Browser

  9. Training and boozing

    September 24, 2008 by superlative

    Today I am off at CSS training, which is lovely. I don’t really need it to be honest, but it’s a day out of the office and I’ll get a free lunch. Plus I suppose a bit of a refresher won’t hurt. Unfortunately I’m missing a staff jolly because of it, and I would have quite liked to go to the Chinese exhibition. Maybe it’ll be shit and then I won’t mind… I plan on joining them for the boozy part of the outing anyway. Hopefully no one will get thrown out for aggressive behaviour this time…