Sold Out – Iggy Pop’s Wish is Granted. He is a Poodle.

Not been blogging for a few weeks due to being incredibly busy. Bad I know, but when you fall off a horse, you should just get straight back on again. So, with a revitalised blogging mojo, I wanted to vent some anger about those who shoud be heroes but are now ruining their reputation in my eyes.

Yes, I’m talking about Iggy Pop and John Lydon.

My current journey into London takes me past an advertising hoarding with images of the baddest boy in rock, sitting in a silly purple car, smiling stupidly back at me encouraging me to buy Swift Insurance. So the man, the icon who sang “I wanna be your dog” is now the an insurance company’s poodle (I’ll avoid the obvious canine reference, butcha know what I mean right?)

And then there was John Lydon Rotten himself who spent much of last year on TV telling people to buy Country Life butter. God save us!

If Alice Cooper in bed with Ronnie Corbett and Ozzy selling computer games wasn’t bad enough.

Sorry for the rant on my return. But perlease! I want my rock stars to be monsters!


A Shout Out for the Good Guys

Without realising it, certain habits have crept their way in to my daily routine recently.

I’ve become an avid follower of several blogs and news sites that give my day its kick start.

So here’s a list of the top five that I follow without fail (almost). I’d love to know yours.

1. Chris Brogan – I heard Chris speak in Chicago back in June this year and his words on ‘human business’ cut through all the guff that I’d heard and read about before. Thanks Chris for all your posts.

2. Alltop – fairly new to this, but a great consoldator of the best of that’s out there every day.

3. Mashable – Goes without saying. I’m sure everyone’s go to site for all things social, marketing, etc.

4. Techcrunch – For an untecchie like me, they make this befuddling world of widgets and apps wholly relevant.

5. Brian Solis – Along with Chris, a great thinker and one who has fully explained the reality of engagement.

The lesson here overall I suppose is that reading is king. You can’t really read enough. Everything changes so quickly and randomly, at least trying to keep abreast is an objective we should all have.

Developing Your Style

Had a lovely compliment paid to me this morning about my writing style. I didn’t know I had one. But apparently years of listening to Test Match Special and to Blowers, CMJ,  Aggers and Johnners back in the day have rubbed off!

“That’s quite extraordinary” was a phrase I’d used in relation to those social media naysayers and yet, thinking more about it, I can now imagine it being used in relation to the perfect Gower cover drive, a wonderful catch at the wicket or the unbelievable run out of Ricky Ponting at The Oval by Freddie Flintoff!

So, the voices we hear in our heads when we start to type come from the combination of all our influences. They make us unique and it’s fantastic.

Growing up in Sussex, attending university in the Midlands, living in East Anglia and latterly Chicago sure do make for an individual style I suppose. So I feel as comfortable using quaint English phrases to ticket collectors on the Chicago Metra system as I do hanging with my bloods at Lords!

Brands have a unique style too. The cutesy language used by some may be copied by others, but if it’s not true, people will see through it – I love this for example.

You can take the boy out of England….!!!

“A Journey of a Thousand Miles Starts With Just one Step”

This quote credited to Lao Tzu, a Chinese Philosopher who lived 500 years before Christ, could not be more apt when people think about starting a blog.

Just recently I’ve heard a number of different reasons why companies have yet to start a blog. Time, resource, subject matter – lack of each of these is cited as an excuse, for really that’s what they are – excuses.

Writing this I’m struggling to think of any organisation that can really justify these excuses. Just yesterday somebody told me, “but we have nothing to say”. That’s just extraordinary! What do they talk about all day long?

Write about your world, your market, your experiences, tell your stories. Maybe people aren’t reading enough? Surely just reading an opinion piece about your market will provoke a response in your mind? Write it down.

Lack of time? Really? Why not set a target of say 3 posts a week – can that be so hard? Remember how to eat an elephant? Write things down as they come to you. A pen a paper by the bed can be invaluable.

Lack of resource? – I don’t get this at all. Somebody in you organisation should be blogging, but just who that person is does take time to decide. Should it be the office junior “because they do that stuff all the time” or should it be the CEO? This deserves plenty of thought. But don’t let the decision delay you too long. But here’s a clue – the office junior is NOT the right person.

How much freedom will the writer have? Again, I sympathise with those wrestling with these questions. Some businesses work within very tightly regulated industries where the legal department checks every piece of material before it’s released. That’s why listening to Donna Rossi, from Western Union at the Engaging Times Summit last month was so liberating. The first thing to note is that Donna is the Global Customer Experience Manager for Western Union – not the Head of Marketing. Important because it highlights that social media begins with customer care – but that’s another blog post! Donna explained just how Western Union had wrestled with the letting go that is necessary to really engage with their customers on the social web. She demonstrated real trust in WU employees to blog and vlog appropriately without breaking some pre-set guidelines.

A final obstacle that may be front of mind for people is the fact that nobody will read it! Well, that’s probably true. You could be talking to yourself for a time. But this is the time to try different things, to see how your writing style develops. Don’t think that by building it, they will come. You have to work on your blog distribution channels and encourage feedback. Do this and they will come.

Am I happy with every aspect of this blog post? No. Will I read it later and think I could have written it better? Yes. But that’s always the case and the road to nowhere.

Go for it!