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What can you see in a Social Media Bubble?

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What can you see in a Social Media Bubble?

Umair Haque writes an exceptional thought provoking piece called The Social Media Bubble at Harvard Business Review.

He advances this hypothesis:

“Despite all the excitement surrounding social media, the Internet isn’t connecting us as much as we think it is. It’s largely home to weak, artificial connections, what I call thin relationships.

During the subprime bubble, banks and brokers sold one another bad debt — debt that couldn’t be made good on. Today, “social” media is trading in low-quality connections — linkages that are unlikely to yield meaningful, lasting relationships”

He backs this up with some meaty and extremely well thought out arguments including:

“If social tools were creating real economic gains, we’d expect to see a substitution effect. They’d replace — disintermediate — yesterday’s gatekeepers. Yet, increasingly, they are empowering gatekeepers. Your favorite social networks aren’t disintermediating PR agencies, recruiters, and other kinds of brokers. They’re creating legions of new ones”

He’s right!

“The Internet runs on love. Equally, though, it’s full of hate: irrational lashing-out at the nearest person, place, or thing that’s just a little bit different. Read any newspaper web comments sections lately? Usually, they’re giant puddles of bile and venom. Check out these emails to Floyd Norris. Far from fueling meaningful conversation, today’s “social” web is a world full of the linguistic equivalent of drive-by shootings.”

He’s right!

“The promise of the Internet wasn’t merely to inflate relationships, without adding depth, resonance, and meaning. It was to fundamentally rewire people, communities, civil society, business, and the state — through thicker, stronger, more meaningful relationships.

And right again!!

So why then publish this here on a site that depends on people who believe in the power of the net, why risk disappointing our bread and butter so to speak – not the wisest of moves now! you might think.

I reference this brilliant article because it raises one massive point! The promise of the Internet was and remains to fundamentally rewire people. This remains as true today as it ever has. The challenge however is that it is just that, Promise! Potential! & Capability. What people choose to do with this promise is entirely up to them and so it should be.

We suffer from the arrogance that we are good at relationships, yet our history on this planet tells us that we are anything but. Why then should we be so surprised if these new tools in many cases merely facilitate our old habits. Maybe, it is not the internet that needs rewiring but rather the technology inside of our heads.

The internet & social media creates the opportunity to connect like never before. If we fail to take advantage, fair enough! But let us at least have the decency to not blame the tool. Relationships are and will continue to be about people, if a relationship fails, people fail.

Perhaps if we were to start thinking of the internet as a very powerful mirror, one which reflects back upon us our good and our bad. Then perhaps, we may begin to realise that when blame the internet or social media, we are merely pointing the finger at ourselves?

Digital expert, top 10% influencer with over 10 years’ senior management experience - including managing projects and teams, and growing companies in the Irish, international and online marketplaces. Co-founded one of the largest B2B blogs in the world, helped grow a B2B social media to over 1,000,000 members, created the strategy for one of the most effective SME Facebook pages in the world and have grown 3 business websites (, & to in excess of a 100,000 unique visitors per month. Have consulted and worked with both corporate and SME clients on leveraging digital to drive business KPIs. Speaker at industry events, have authored several industry reports on the Digital Economy and appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Business Insider and other leading online and offline business publications. Specialities include: Entrepreneurship Business Development, Start-ups, Business Planning, Management, Training, Leadership, Sales Management, Sales, Sales Process, Coaching, Online Advertising, Blogging, Online Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Digital Marketing, Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media Strategist, Digital Strategy, Social Media ROI, User Generated Content, Social Customer Care.

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  • Anonymous

    Follwing up on what Kelvin said, if you can emotionalise your goals you’re far more likely to see them fullfilled. Ask yourself, how will I feel what I reach goal X? Really examine your thoughts on this, imagine you’ve achieved your goal, feel the happiness, rush of excitement, feelings of acomplishment…etc

    btw, best book I ever came across for this type of stuff is, ‘What Self-Made Millionaires Really Think, Know and Do’. Author is Richard Dobbins and Barrie O. Pettman – highly recommended!

    While we’re on the subject I’m looking at putting together a mastermind alliance, a group of 4-5 people, meeting maybe every month to assist/critique each other in the pursuit of their goals.
    Anyone interested let me know.

  • Greg, I just wanted to compliment you on your blogging style. It’s very interesting to see the many way in which you convey your message. I’m learning quite a bit from you so Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Niall. Coming from someone I have a lot of respect for, your comment meas a lot.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for your comments Peter. The book recommendation is a great one.

    I like your idea of putting together a group of 4-5 people to help each other with business and I am in the process of forming a similar group. Do not hesitate to contact me if you would like any thoughts or advice on this. (contact details are in the article)

    Have a great week.


  • Anonymous

    Good points to remember, Emma. But as Barney says in the post after yours, keeping your head on the sand is good sometimes!


  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comments lads – hiring definitely plays it part and unsurprisingly the ‘make a name for yourself’ approach is unlikely to find it’s way into the best standardised approach

  • lol, point well made and taken. Thanks Kelvin 🙂

  • Hi Elli, for me the addition I would make is not to accept the status quo or mediocraty in any element of a business. Every business has scope for improvement and people should not be afraid to put their hands up and suggest changes. Of course, management needs to encourage this kind of thinking in their teams and this is where companies often come unstuck!

  • Anonymous


    Thanks for the comment. It takes inner strength on the part of management in an organization to invite or even urge people to speak up and propose changes. There is an interesting company in Rhode Island called Rite Solutions and they encourage all of their employees to write proposals that will make either the products better or how the company runs better. This includes their plant management staff and administrative staff. When was the last time anyone asked a janitor or an administrative assistant what would make things work better?

  • Anonymous

    So sorry, there is a bad link in the description. This is the corrected link to get more information or to register, please go to

  • Hi Elli, the link is now fixed 🙂

  • J Barry

    Every time I see a post on Twitter from people who don’t use it they say the same thing. They comment on how tweeters are only sending tweets about what they’re eating, where they are, etc., and rubbish the triviality of Twitter. They seem to miss the beauty of Twitter is engaging with people, yes, I may tweet about what I’m making for dinner, but that’s just one in the many tweets I send throughout the day that give people an idea of who I am. Sharing information about what I’m listening to, or watching, or where I’m going, gives an idea of the kind of person I am. It means I’ll connect with people who have the same interests. If I tweet I’m off for a pint in such and such a pub, 9 times out of 10, someone else may be there or someone who’s in town may pop in. Twitter may be an online medium but I’ve found that it has translated into a great face to face experience, especially in Dublin where it’s such a small community.

    I agree with Darragh, and think that before you call yourself an expert you should be fully immersed in the medium of which you claim your expertise.

  • Caelen, I had a chuckle reading Brian’s article (I’m not a chit chatter myself) and reading Darragh’s comments too (some wisdom there – although I know a few people with multiple Twitter accounts, so I’d ease up there).

    But I really had a good laugh readng your comment. So true.

    Would you believe, I actually know a few people who feel more comfortable engaging with someone who tweets “I’m having my coffee now”. Not me. I’m never any good at small talk, and dry up completely as the day goes on. For some reason I’m totally incapable of any form of chit chat & small talk in the evening.

    Social media is such a social environment. We all have different people skills in the real world and it seems that these differences show up on social media too. Except in the real world we choose where we hang out and online some people expect everyone online to be like the people they are used to.

    I really think the people who complain most about social media, need to actually stop and spend a good bit of time just listening. If you don’t like the tweets in your feed, go out and listen to the conversations going on elsewhere. You’ve obviously hooked up with the wrong crowds. Listen a little bit all over the place and then decide where you want to stop and have conversations with people. It’s a little bit like in the real world, isn’t it?

    In addition to this, Darragh is right, people on are Twitter for different reasons… and these reasons may not fit in with your own. You just gotta find the right crowd of people to hang out with at the right times. Twitter lists are great for this.

  • Hi Darragh,

    thanks for taking the time to respond to my post. I’m going to refer to your last paragraph now, i must nip out to a meeting then and will respond to the rest of your arguement on my return as I think you have some interesting points 🙂

    1) Just because you think it’s “bullshit” doesn’t mean it is but I respect your opinion as it’s just that yours ! just like mine is just that, mine 🙂

    2) While I am currently undertaking a PhD in the area of social media marketing, i have never professed to be an “expert” (YET) although I am quite happy to share my knowledge which I gain from my research with people and also my own thoughts on , a name I selected as I thought it was a pun on “PhD” and also on sites such as this where i did a piece on “Social Media, History, Definition and scholarship In fact the encouraging comments and votes for that piece has encouraged me to pen another entitled “Has facebook changed the definition of a friend” which I would be happy to hear your views on also ( I will let you know when I post it )

    Finally, for now ! I think it’s pretty cool that I got someone with 3,645 followers to start tweeting about me 😉 even if I do only currently have 7 followers on my @drofsocialmedia a/c on twitter.

    ( I’ll comment on the rest of your response in about an hour)

  • Good point Caelen, thanks for adding to the discussion.

  • I don’t use Twitter that much TBH but I’m happy to share both serious/biz and silly updates on FB. Besides this post’s content and severe contradiction by the author it’s good to see a nice opinion exchange triggered by Darragh (or the post? lol)!

  • my pleasure Niall, I have come across have the same sentiments from many. @darraghdoyle puts forward an interesting arguement that I will be responding to in about an hour if you want to check it out.

  • Loving the thread guys. Was really looking forward to a moment like this 🙂
    Twitter is a wonderful tool. To me, it’s all about “personalizing it”.
    It’s straight forward: you have the control to follow people of your choice. If you get annoyed by”I’m having a coffee”, either you can learn from that stranger and get to know him/her better or simply unfollow! Again, you’re in control to listen and learn from whoever you want.

  • Hi J Barry,

    thanks for your comment. You raise some interesting points also. I will respond to your comments in about an hour when I respond to Darragh’s. I have already posted an initial response to him if you want to check it out in the mean time.

  • Darragh,

    according to I have been on Twitter 2 years, 10 months, 2 weeks, 5 days. A year less than ev and a month less than you. Like you, ‘m not a twitter expert and with only 6000 tweets, I am not really that active. I am not in the process of getting a PhD in social media, hell I never took the time to finish university.

    Having said that, if I had posted this article instead of Brian, would you have come back with the same comment and called it bullshit? Just like I agree with your Grafton Street example (I used to live in Foxrock, I know GS quite well) I agree with what Brian writes.

    I don’t care that someone is going to town to meet a high school friend and I won’t tweet that I will. (BTW, I am leaving home in about 20 minutes to meet Pat Reardon, a high school buddy, at the Eiffle Tower) I did just boil water for tea, but I won’t tweet that either.

    The only things that I will tweet are things that other people may find interesting. I think this article is spot on (but I don’t like the title)


  • Hey there Richard, thanks for the comment.

    If you had posted the same article, I’d have done exactly what I did with Brian – go straight to the twitter account and see the “authority” of the person posting – and by “authority”, I mean the level of engagement, how interested they are, how much communicating they do on twitter and how they use it, and can, in turn, feel they can advise people on or dictate how people should use twitter. Seriously though, how can you advise people on a medium when your account is 3 days old?

    For example, going through your tweets of just the last month, have you ever said “Good morning?” Have you ever responded to anyone who has spoken to you? Has anyone ever spoken to you on there? You tweet a mixture of funny quotes, of links and you RT a hell of a lot, but that’s just an information channel to me – no personality, no engagement, no understanding of what it is. Fine, you have far more followers than I ever have, but how many people do you follow? How many people interact with you? How many people on there do you *know*? It seems almost like you’re following a top-ten list of “How to be on twitter” and not deviating at all.

    People can use twitter for whatever they want to. My comment was never to say they couldn’t – my point was not to listen to these “rules” as if they were gospel and to find out yourself. It’s just a website. How you are on it will dictate how other people interact with you on it.

    Neither am I suggesting that people should tweet the mundane details – my point is not to listen to people telling you NOT to tweet them because you think they’re boring. I may not necessarily respond to you telling me you’re off to meet a friend at the Eiffel Tower, but I might remember that you’re in Paris and ask you something about it another time. It’s just conversation. That’s what I use it for anyways.

  • Anonymous

    Love the banter here. I think like anything else in life we should not be too critical of how others use Twitter. I love the fact that many people are very business like during work hours and can kick back with some humourous tweets as they engage socially in the evening. As @darraghdoyle says – ”
    People can use twitter for whatever they want to.” I can’t argue with that.

  • Anonymous

    I think with things like this it becomes really clear that people approach Twitter from really different angles. I’m not going to say there’s a right way or a wrong way to go about these things, there’s no perfect approach. People will tend to do what they’re good at, or find a way to make what they’re good at applicable to what they’re doing. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just how we are.

    Like Darragh though, for me Twitter is more about personality than about a pure information stream. I enjoy the fact that, when I ask how they’re doing, the guys from @eircomconnect tell me how their day is going, not just what they’re working on. It’s a small enough thing, but it’s there.

    Similarly, I’m no Twitter expert, nor am I studying for a social media PhD, so maybe my approach is wrong here. Still one of the things that I’ve really enjoyed from Twitter is getting recommendations from people who buy from the business I work for. They are, almost by definition, people with similar interests to me, so when I’m looking for a new book to read, I don’t hesitate to ask them about it…

    Days later, if I tell people that I’m reading Doctor Glas, there may seem to be no reason for me to do it, but there are people out there for whom it’s interesting.

    I won’t talk about keeping ‘the conversation’ going, or ‘engaging with your audience.’ Twitter is a channel for a less formal kind of interaction, both with people and with businesses. What you use that channel for is up to you, but as far as I’m concerned HUMANITY is the biggest thing going. If people know you’re a human being on the opposite side then you’ve done pretty much everything right.

    If you could be replaced with a capably scripted bot, you’ve probably not accomplished an awful lot, no matter how many tweets you have or how many followers.

    Just my two cents,


  • Hi again Daragh,

    so here is the second half of my response……

    At the end of the last post to you I commented on how cool I thought it was that someone such as yourself with 3,645 followers on twitter was tweeting about little old @drofsocialmedia with just 7 followers. I would like to add that I think it’s uber amazing how someone such as McLaughlin with 39,757 followers is now tweeting about this blog! Because I want to remain as impartial as I can I won’t thank McLaughlin for his support of the article 🙂

    So you seem to have addressed my 3 suggested simple rules before tweeting. I will then reply to your comments.

    1) I suggested: Before you tweet ask yourself “Is this relevant to my audience or just me”?
    You said : Who Cares ! If it’s relevant to people they will interact, if it is not they won’t.

    I suppose my issue with not caring if your post is relevant is (as I stated in the blog) that a possibility exists that your audience disengages with you and doesn’t pay any serious attention to your tweets when you really want them to. However, I take some interesting points from other commentators to this blog

    “ if you tend to tweet triviality such as where you are meeting then that’s probably why your followers are following you! @Caelen.

    “You just got to find the right crowd of people to hang out with at the right times” @Cindy King

    2) I suggested: Before you tweet ask.. “Will this information be useful to anyone but me”?
    You said: If you are doing this for a reason – and this is the only reason give up now.

    I’m sorry but from a business and marketing perspective I fundamentally disagree.

    3) I suggested: Would I care if somebody I follow tweeted this ?
    You said: Be yourself, Be funny, Be Nice, Be Honest, Be Direct and you’ll find the rest follows

    I agree one hundred percent but I don’t see how telling people where you are tweeting from for example, is being any of these.

    I am also going to bring in a comment from J Barry to this point…

    “ If I tweet I’m off for a pint in such and such a pub, 9 times out of 10, someone else may be there or someone who is in town may pop in”

    I can see where you are coming from J Barry, however, would you ring or text everyone in your phone book no matter where they were based to tell them you were heading into town ? What I might do is send a DM to 5 or 6 people that I know work in the area wondering if they are available. For example, a social media company in London DM’ d me this morn to know if I would be available for coffee sometime. So I engage with that as to be honest I feel somewhat flattered and I know the guy is engaging with me. If he had just tweeted a general tweet like “ I have coffee in starbucks in London every morning” I probably wouldn’t have taken much notice and most likely not contacted him the next time I’m in London but now I will be sure to.

    From what I gather people commenting on this post have different ideas ( which is what makes debates like this interesting and I hope we hear lots more views) on this post and just what Engagement Marketing, a term coined by a guy called Alan Moore is all about. Just on that note this guy wrote a pretty good book on this and would be worth a read. I will be doing a review on it soon and will present it on my latest site if your interested.

    Best Regards

  • Anonymous

    Nearly missed an opportunity. Anyone want to connect with me on Twitter, feel free to do so at

  • thanks for your comment Mark, Some good points raised, particularly, the piece about interaction between people and business. For me it’s the balance that is the important thing 🙂

  • thaks for ur comments gregfry, Have to agree with that myself ! People can use twitter for whatever they want 🙂

  • thanks for your comments Fred.

    although not so sure about it being as straight forward as you say 🙂

  • thanks for your comments McLaughlin, In hindsight the title prop wasn’t the best. I was trying to conjure interest and humour ! Maybe Twitter Bug may have been better than Twat. I hope I did not cause any offence to anyone with the title.

  • Interesting points to ponder from different perspectives. 🙂 Both have good reasons. Personally I prefer to read informative tweets but don’t mind a few casual ones too – a chance to know something extra about the person I’m following. I once talked about guitars with a lady I met on Twitter, it was not planned but I had fun during the chat. Ease off the info-overload awhile.

    Moderate the tweets would be my opinion. However, some people do use Twitter for fun only so I respect that. It’s a matter of preferences, glad that we have Twitter Lists and freedom to choose who to follow. 🙂

    Social/Blogging Tracker

  • Brian, fair play for commenting. We’ll have to agree to disagree on any number of your points, your understanding or your approach, but it’s only the internet after all and if you can make money from it that way, then fair play to you.

    Best of luck with your studies – I hope you learn a lot.

  • thanks for the comment @wchingya , nicely put 🙂

  • Pawel

    nothing like a nice healthy debate lol. Loving the title … BOLD but Beautiful !!!

  • thanks Pawel, Might be a good book title 🙂

  • Hi Brian,

    Frankly, you lost me with the title. You should be aware the final word in your title, in some countries, is considered a very offensive vulgarity with strong misogynistic overtones. I doubt that’s what you intended but, take my word, it doesn’t travel.

  • No offense at all, just voicing my opinion because the SugarTone contest has a vote on the title and I don’t know who votes or how. Just tossing my vote out there.

  • How many Twitter accounts do you have Darragh?

    I have 3 that I can think of. I probably have at least one more that I made and just can’t remember. I have one account that has about 15k followers and tweet all things green (not Irish green, but ecology green). I log in to that account maybe once a week. Followers keep growing, the account keeps appearing on lists, it’s really kind of neat because the account has no one ever interacting.

    Am I doing that wrong? You feel that you are the expert that can just my name account, so can you please pass judgment on that second account.

    ooooh, wait you are not “claiming to be any sort of twitter “expert” or even someone who knows how the hell to use it “properly” Please claim to be an expert and better than everyone on Twitter, it’s the position you express.

    Did you think that Brian might have a named Twitter account? Or one he uses for a business? I’m having a a blank, what song tells us to believe half of what we see and none of what we hear? Looks can be deceiving.

    My use of Twitter “advertise” a post, blog, SugarTone contest or whatever.
    My use of email, skype, phones and Twitter DM. Interaction with people.

    I don’t want to read about peoples private lives on twitter so I don’t tweet about mine.

    I don’t cuss on twitter. We all choose how we tweet, and that is a choice. The one thing I didn’t like about this article was the word Twat in the title. Since SugarTone has votes on best title I said that I didn’t like it.

    Darragh I wish you well in life. May the road rise to meet you and all that stuff.

  • thanks for your comments glogalcopywrite. I guess it won’t be an international best seller after all ( Sorry Pawel !) Indeed, no offence was intended and I will take your point on board.

  • Pawel

    and there I was looking forward to a free copy !

    misogynistic overtones or not, this article has been on the homepage of this site for the last 2 days !!! has provoked perhaps one of the most interesting debates that I have read on here and has attracted a serious number of votes in from what I can gather is a short period of time. So there must be something right with the title which again for me is Bold but Beautifully thought provoking !

  • Darragh,

    Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    I agree largely with what you say and would agree that of course there are no hard and fast rules when using Twitter,individuals are entitled to use Twitter in whatever fashion works for them.

    For me the real question here is what if you are using Twitter for biz?

    You could actually extend the question and say what if you are using it for B2C? or what if you are using it for B2B? Is this something you need to consider? Will it have an impact on how you use it?

    Brian may lack experience but the point he makes about the conversation is one I have heard many times from business people who have chosen either not to use or stop using Twitter. Rightly or wrongly the perception exists within the business world that much of the conversation is of low value.

    Let me make the point a different way (I am not trying to be smart here) you used the word “bullshit” in your last paragraph. If you knew me personally, you would know that it is a word I am quite fond of, I have no problem using it with my friends etc. However in a professional context, giving a presentation, during a meeting, It is a word I will not use because of the risk that it would be interpreted in a negative fashion. I would even extend this point further and say that if you consider different cultures, it is lightly to contain even more risk professionally. (Also see Sarah’s comments below on Brian title)

    I am pretty sure that if you were giving a presentation, It’s not a word you would choose to use either. However, online the same rules don’t seem to apply. Why is that? Is the professional environment online all that different from a face to face situation. I don’t think that it is.

    The point here is that when using these tools for biz, It is not how we feel personally or indeed our own opinion that it is important, It is the feelings & opinions of the people/prospects/customers/companies (and as Sarah highlights, the where) that we are attempting to engage with that matters the most.

    If like me your market is the business community on Twitter, to be effective, I must endeavor to respect their rules, their expectations and not mine. I have absolutely no difficulty in telling them details about the more mundane details of my life but for the moment I remain unconvinced that that is something they would like to hear about. This is not hard & fast as I say and I have on occasion cracked a joke etc 🙂 By the way, I don’t think yours are that bad and Ive had a chuckle at them from time to time.

    If you think about it, the question about using Twitter for biz is not a Twitter question, it is a question of how well you know your market, how well do you know your customers, how effective you are at giving them what the want. Unfortunately in many cases, the person entrusted with using Twitter for organisations in not the same person that can answer these questions. All too often, the person who could really use Twitter effectively is the same person that will give out about the quality of the conversations and there lies the problem.

    Lastly, just want to point out that Bloggertone is open to all professionals who want to blog regardless of the differences in opinions.

  • You are right, and I just love when people tell me what is wrong with my twitter account, my blog or my choice of car color. People don’t know why I’ve made any of the choices, but they are willing to correct me – even though they all work perfectly for me.

  • Hi Brian,

    Believe me, I’ve been caught in the same trap on more than one occasion. I named my company Global Copywriting to reflect my experience – I’ve lived and worked in commercial environments on 5 continents. Suffice it to say, there have been blunders.

    For example, in America where I was born, we say someone is “shagging beer” if they go to the bar and order a round instead of ordering from a waitperson. When I moved to England, I wasn’t sure how the whole pub thing worked so I suggested to a new colleague that I would pay for a round if he “shagged for me”. You can’t imagine how long it took the all-male gathering of computer programers to recover from their convulsive laughter and explain my faux pas. This was before the shagadelic era of Austen Powers so I was completely ignorant.

    I got in trouble the first time I visited Australia to do sales training when I announced one morning I was finally over my jetlag and feeling spunky. Where I come from that simply means perky and energetic. The Australians had a fleeting moment of thinking that sales training was going to get a whole lot more fun.

    As a general rule of thumb, I think it’s always better to stay conservative when you’re writing for business especially when there’s an international audience involved. You just never know who you’re going to unintentionally offend. While a little controversy is always good for readership (as your post so aptly demonstrates) you want it to be for the right reasons.

    Don’t worry, no offense taken. I appreciate your reply.


  • Its not often I feel like jumping into an argument, I have started and got involved in an enough of them at this stage.
    Brian you have no experience of twitter, you are seven days engaging on it.
    If you have another account which is going for years lets see it?
    You are just another one of those brassers who want to charge for something and pretend that what they know is of value, fair play to ya, hats off, but dont be dressing it up as anything else, come straight out and say it
    As for McLaughlin just another number gatherer, we have seen them for years and we will see them for years to come, he is running a script for followers, see how his numbers are so close together, its a dead giveaway.
    Niall, cop your self on boy will ya.
    oh and by the way, here longer than all of you, you cant claim numbers on that 🙂

  • Ben

    We all love Darragh’s terrible jokes 😀

  • Brian, there are so may colors in the rainbow. Must we always paint the sky blue, like you? @BYRNEC

  • Hi Chris,

    thanks for your comment. As per my responses above to people I think it’s clear that I’m pretty happy for people to paint the sky whatever colour they want. In fact, I encourage it as when one mixes colours, for example Blue as you attribute to me, with lets say Yellow we get a fantastic new colour Green.

  • Hi Sarah,

    I got a great little giggle reading your post ! To be honest, when I was writing the article and picked the title I had no idea that it would get to the front page and illicit such interest 🙂 I am delighted it has and that we have got such an interesting debate going on around it thus far, and hopefully more to come !

    still laughing at the thought of the guys face in bar ! (excellent)

  • Hi Pat,

    glad the article got you to “jump” into the debate. I’d just like to point out however, that, to-date,I have never charged a penny or a cent for any of my opinions, research or information that i have gathered as a result of my study into social media marketing 🙂

    However, in line with my research, I have exchanged on occasion my services, advice and knowledge that I have gained to campaigns in return for being able to document the information, some of which such as, I will continue to share with communities such as this, on my new blog and at academic conferences ! I might even aspire one day to write a book on it but I won’t be calling it ” I don’t care what you tweet you twat ” as per the advice given by Sarah below 🙂

    Again I am not claiming to be any sort of expert, I learn new things about social media everyday. However, one day I do hope to have amassed enough knowledge to be able to call myself an expert.

    In relation to your comment “oh by the way, here longer than all of you” ……… I started running with a friend of mine about a year ago. When we started I used to outrun her , she put in so much hard work now I can’t keep up with her 🙂

  • Does anyone else remember the days of BBS? Those were probably the original, original social networking sites, but they targeted a tiny niche – most people didn’t even own a computer back in the day. Social networking sure has come a long way in a very short period of time.

  • Hi Colleen, “Most speakers focus on their message rather than on the listener’s need” I think that this is a wonderful point and well worth considering, to a large extent everything else follows 🙂

  • It really does. Presenting is all about fine tuning your message – actually putting together this article was great practice, I wanted it to be brief, to the point and full of value. Our presentations should be the same! If you focus on the listener, you will be golden!

  • Thanks Kelly, I am glad you found the article useful.

  • Hi Catherine, I am glad you were able to pull something from my tips. Being different and doing something unexpected will help your message be remembered.

  • jentamar

    Great article. I especially like the idea of appealing to many different senses.

  • Anonymous

    Great advice as I embark on my first ever PowerPoint presentation.

  • Anonymous

    some great comments Una, thanks 🙂

    I must say I really enjoyed virtual revolution and great to connect with someone that seems to have found it as interesting as I have.

    Great point in relation to whether people will mind in 20 years time what the 18 year olds of generation Y, M or I did as it will be acepted as ” that’s just what they do”

    I think if people are worried about what’s going to come back to “haunt” them and as a result don’t engage they will be missing out on the opportunities afforded to them by social media such as connecting with new people and increasing their social capital.

    I was at a “virtual enterprise” conference in Glyndwr Wales recently orgainised by Matt Draycott ( see for a post Matt did for me) and I remember cringing as the ” Ethics and Privacy” speaker started talking about privacy issues related to banking on line etc. I suggested to her that if people thought the same way not so long ago we would have no “ATM” or “Bank Link” cards today ! To be fair I respect her area of study and think that we do need such research so as to keep us in check but it does tend to get my back up sometimes; I feel if we listened to all of these people we would stifle innovation and creativity and probably still be buying Black Ford’s !

  • Niall, the other important point to remember about the internet and social tools (as opposed to social networking) is that they are platforms to get one’s message out – to distribute new and valuable content – and of course to help one’s google ranking. I know from recent discussions I’ve had in a linkedin group on social media in insurance that some of the signficant insurers and reinsurers are using blogging for instance to build a following and drive traffic to their websites, without there being a two-way dialogue. As you say, it’s what you make of it yourself.

  • Hi Niall. Well conceived post – nice one. I would agree with you. Social media is about the relationships developed. The tools are merely a mechanism to achieve that. What we do with them is up to us and the only way of effecting that change in attitude is sites like this one where we can show it working.

  • Very fair point and equally as you point out “it’s what you make of it yourself” There are a large number of companies using tools very effectively to do many different tasks and many others using the same tools entirely ineffectively. The difference is not the tool, it’s the person or people behind the the tool.

  • Thanks Barney, SM means that we can now make connections at breath-taking speeds, but to turn these connections into relationships takes nurturing, time and commitment. Anyone who thinks that just because you connect with someone online means that you are automatically destined to have a relationship is simply deluding themselves. There is a distinct lack of common sense around the SM debate but then again that’s another trait we tend to over-estimate in ourselves 🙂

  • Anonymous

    great post Niall, and quite thought provoking. I think the follower craze in Twitter proves the point that many relationships on Social Tools are quite flimsy – increasing your number of followers just for the sake of being able to say you have a large following just doesn’t sit well with me.

    As you say it all comes down to human nature. There will always be people who are driven by personal motivations, and they will always manipulate whether it is face to face or online. However I’m an optimist and I think that the Internet’s power for good will eventually outweigh it’s misuse.

    On the point of relationships, I’ve always been interested in Dunbar’s number theory, which limits the number of people you can have a stable relationship with to 150 – It’s interesting to consider whether the Internet (and Social Media) in particular has on this. I smell the genesis of a future blog post on that topic.

  • Anonymous


    Greatpost! The more I engage in the online world, the more I notice people are being people. And not necessarily the most compassionate or professional people. If you look at the Internet in its entirety, it’s a place to broadcast or find information about anything. When you break it down into its parts, it becomes more complex. It’s a networking tool, a socialising tool, a research tool, a marketing tool, a sales tool, a source of entertainment, and the list goes on and on. It is easy to do and say things because one can be faceless and nameless. It is not expected that one will act ethically either. Expectations and best practices change frequently as techology gives us more ways to act and interact. For example, it used to be that if someone had a lot of followers on Twitter, then they were Somebody. Now you have to examine the numbers more closely by looking at the bio, the posts, and how many people are being followed in return.

    By criticising the tool, we let ourselves off the hook. I agree with you that the Internet is a mirror. We reveal who we are online just as much as we do in person. Maybe it’s paradoxical thinking but users can be naive, silly, slanderous, brilliant, ethical, and all the qualities of being human when using the Internet. Each of us has the capacity to choose how we want to treat whomever is on the other end even if we never meet.

  • Hi Frank, I think followers have a value on Twitter but on it’s own it’s purely mathematical. I am also optimistic because I see many people developing very real relationships, the point is that they have the skills to do this, online just allows them to do more and to do it quicker.

    I think Dunbar may very well be right, what’s interesting is I think that people who are good at relationships tend to form relationships with people who are also good at relationships and so on. This is perhaps the true potential online.

    The success so far of BT is a typical example in that I don’t have a relationship with everyone in our extended community but I invariably know someone who has, hence I’m connected. Paradoxically perhaps, Ireland because of our size has always been about who you know (positive & negative), SM maybe now means that the world is starting to follow suit.

  • I like your comment Frank, but sadly your link isnt working so I’m off to google Dunbar’s theory 🙂

  • Thanks Elli, A strange thing that I notice when meeting people offline is that they sometimes turn out to to be entirely different to how I expected. I’ve noticed that the in your face people online can often be the quietest ones offline. I’m not sure if this is something that they are even aware of but I know I try hard to be the same person and show the same respect in both arenas.

    I ask myself each & every time I comment engage, would I be happy to say this to the person’s face? It can sometimes be all too easy to forget that behind every blog post is a person. Another infestation online is celebrity culture, guys & girls who just cause they have few thousand twitter followers or a semi-popular blog think they can act how they like. It would be funny except that these are supposed to be grown ups and they set a really bad example for people (especially younger people).

  • Interesting post Niall and I agree with your comment here, I too try to be the same person online as I am offline, as you say behind every blog post and tweet there is a person, and each and every person is due the basic respect that we ourselves expect on both counts…..

  • Anonymous


    Truly, social media can be misused. It can be a hammer for those who are disatisfied with life and feel the need to “correct” us misguided types. It can be the illusion of a stage for wanna-be “rockstars.”

    People get when people are truly on the level. (Like you!) We can choose how much of our energy we are willing to give to others. We choose to be civil or not. At the end of the day, the Internet and social media are reflections of in-person interactions anywhere. (Don’t lose faith! Your engagement is a gift!)

  • Good luck with your presentation. If you find yourself nervous at any point, remember, you are the expert on your topic, because only you know what you are going to be presenting. If you miss something, don’t worry, no one will know. If you really need to calm your nerves – yawn! (Before you get to the front of the room). The oxygen will relax you. Thanks for reading!

  • Please let me know how that works for you. After your Q&A, summarize your main points, then end with your call to action. You’ll be amazed by your results!

  • Facundo

    Dermot, I’m working on a wireframe for a client at the moment and this article comes in very handy. I was about to fall into the flag trap…

  • Hi Sian,nI have invested in headed paper specifically for this purpose. Although, some accounting packages offer specific paper also.nI have a question/clarification: I have been asked specifically if I would like to receive soft copies of invoices from service providers, and I have agreed to this. But the hard copy has stopped as a consequence. nSo, from what you’re saying above, are they not abiding by legal requirements? (one company continued to send hard copies, and I actually contacted them to say not to bother) If I print them out myself, do they qualify as legal invoices?nnGreat post 🙂

  • Hi Elaine, it’s not a legal requirement to post out an invoice if it has already been emailed it was just a suggestion to help as mentioned above. The points with ** against them are compulsory. Thanks for asking 🙂

  • Anonymous

    nnHi Adam nnA great comment. nnnu00a0nnnI am sitting in Heathrow and have beennreflecting on your point about a calm, sincere and deliberate approach.nnnu00a0nnnMaybe I can add to that. A calm, sincere,nand deliberate approach accompanied by the ability to show how a solutionnimpacts the buyeru2019s key metrics may in fact be the secret sauce that really deliversnthat breath of fresh air. The buyers we have been speaking (as part of ournongoing research in modern buying) around the world have become obsessed withntheir business case and have tended to accuse us sales people of not demonstratingnthe performance impact that will deliver to their business case. nnnu00a0nnnFood for thought. nnnu00a0nnnAll the best Johnnu00a0nn

  • Anonymous

    nnHi Adam nnA great comment. nnnu00a0nnnI am sitting in Heathrow and have beennreflecting on your point about a calm, sincere and deliberate approach.nnnu00a0nnnMaybe I can add to that. A calm, sincere,nand deliberate approach accompanied by the ability to show how a solutionnimpacts the buyeru2019s key metrics may in fact be the secret sauce that really deliversnthat breath of fresh air. The buyers we have been speaking (as part of ournongoing research in modern buying) around the world have become obsessed withntheir business case and have tended to accuse us sales people of not demonstratingnthe performance impact that will deliver to their business case. nnnu00a0nnnFood for thought. nnnu00a0nnnAll the best Johnnu00a0nn

  • Anonymous

    nnHi Niall, nnTotally agree, the more sophisticated buying teams out there are using thenonline world to feed early stages of their buying process. This has a knock on affect for when the buyer feels they need to call in a vendor/partner. nnCheersnJohn nu00a0nn

  • Anonymous

    nnHi Niall, nnTotally agree, the more sophisticated buying teams out there are using thenonline world to feed early stages of their buying process. This has a knock on affect for when the buyer feels they need to call in a vendor/partner. nnCheersnJohn nu00a0nn

  • Hi John, interesting points, nI find the first point particularly true – and the complexity of the process is putting many off targeting larger organisations, as they do not understand how these processes and politics work within those organisations.nnI have experienced a huge gap between the well heeled sales person of old, and people just starting business or starting in a selling role. In a way the “newbies” are lucky, as they have nothing to compare against, so the selling doesn’t feel twice as long or twice as hard – it is what it is, and they adapt easily.nnI fear that recent years (last 5 as you suggest) have taken their toll on traditional sellers, and so much adaptation and mindset shifting is required to get with the new “program” that they are losing out meanwhile possibly to the “younger guns”.nnHave you experienced this? Would you agree?

  • Anonymous

    nnHi Elaine,nnnnInteresting point re the “newbies”. nnnnThe Sellers we see succeeding have a broad range of expertise/years under theirnbelt. The mindset shift hasn’t taken its toll because their focus has in somenways always been on the buyers process and business case. nnnnu201cNewbiesu201d or more established sellers comfortable with the knowledge the buyingnprocess is a long one have adapted well. nnnnWhere we have seen u201cnewbiesu201d succeed is in places where buyers want to see/meetnexperts in a given field or category to drive out their requirements. The newbies are seen to add a lot ofnvalue to the buyer and they are keen to help the buyer at all times. They arenmore buying process centric than selling process focused which is interesting.nu00a0nn

  • Hi Kg29, I’m sorry to hear you have been caught like this. I suggest you get professional advice from a local accountant to you. Or maybe even the revenue can recommend what you can do. In future if paying over a lot of VAT always check the VAT number that your supplier is giving you and that it matches up with the address etc they are giving you. Good luck

  • Kg29

    Thanks sian

  • cashformysettlement

    Yes we all need to set goals……….we just need to stick with them!!

  • Jhonwotsan

    Everyone needs goals…..and they need to stick with them………hard to do tho in this challenging world we live in.

  • Jhonwotsan

    A career coach,really now can you afford one?

  • Jhonwotsan

    You should have a short term goal in mind when you start.

  • Sellyourannuity

    Make goals for yourself, make them challenging to keep them interesting and you will be more apt to stay with them.

  • “The internet
    & social media creates the opportunity to connect like never before. If we
    fail to take advantage, fair enough! But let us at least have the decency to
    not blame the tool. Relationships are and will continue to be about people, if a relationship fails, people fail”

    You’re spot with that statement. If you haven’t read Stephen Covey “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” you should. It is all about relationships, first with yourself, and then with others- Internet or no internet.

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