My Crazy Prediction?

In September 2008 I made a prediction, that email as we know it today will no longer exist in 10 years time.

Read The Death Of Email by 2018

Will I be proved to be a:
or Fool?

Time Remaining:


Featured Author on Business 2 Community

Disclaimer: The views expressed on stopthinksocial are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle.
Strategic advice and experience on making the most of  being social in the workplace

Entries in top tips (3)


Community Managers can make or break your Brand

I'm currently looking for a new mobile as my HTC I use for work is leaking memory (this is the second HTC mobile I have had that has developed exactly the same problem) and I wanted to know more about the new Samsung Galaxy S4.

Surfing a well known search engine I came across this article from PC Advisor "Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Apple iPhone 5 comparison review" written by Chris Martin, a staff writer at PC Advisor.

The article contains facts about some of the tests that were done by PC Advisor comparing the Samsung S4 to the iPhone 5, however once I had finished reading it I was left with a feeling that the article had a clear under tone of bias towards Apple. Reading it again and ignoring the writers biased under-tones, for me the Samsung S4 came out a fairly clear winner and yet the overall verdict was still in favour of the Apple iPhone5.

What I was expecting was an independent review from such a reputable brand as PC Advisor to help me make an informed decision, but instead I was left confused, frustrated and questioning the Brand's ability to be fair and transparent.

So I left a polite and humorous comment to the fact that I wonder if Chris Martin (the writer of the article) owns an iPhone 5 to which Matt Egan (PC Advisor Editor and star of this blog post) responded with the following comment:

From a community manager / editor representing a Brand I thought this response was a little strong and very provocative.

I then read other comments of the article left by consumers and I guess it wasn't surprising to see many had exactly the same opinion as myself that they felt this article was biased towards Apple. But what was surprising (well, more shocking) were some of Matt's responses to those comments:

 ...and I'm saving the best to last...
[Edited: The below comment was actually taken from a different article on PC Advisor] 


If you are representing a Brand you just cannot behave in this way. Not only will you alienate your consumers but you are damaging the Brand. So here are my top tips on how to be a great Community Manager:

Top 10 Tips that make a Great Community Manager

  1. Remember you represent the Brand not yourself
  2. Always be polite and respectful to your consumers, even if you don't agree or like their comments
  3. Don't take comments personally
  4. Engage with those that leave comments and thank them for their insights and time
  5. Where people disagree or have an issue, politely find out any information you can that can help them and your Brand in the future
  6. Listen to what your consumers have to say and feedback to your Brand
  7. If comments are offensive, remove them. Public battles are not pleasant reading and ultimately damaging to your Brand
  8. Don't use foul or offensive language yourself
  9. Learn from the experts and other community practitioners. I highly recommend joining the #CmgrChat Twitter Chat community (co-founder Jenn Pedde) and listening into Tim McDonalds #cmgrhangout
  10. Remember you represent the Brand not yourself (repeated for effect)

#SWChat 50 Million impressions - 12 Top Tips To Creating a Successful Twitter Chat

The Social Workplace Twitter Chat (#SWChat) has reached the milestone of 50,000,000 (yes, 50 million !!!) impressions in only 20 weeks since it's birth.

I started #SWChat back in November 2011 after attending a number of other Twitter Chats, particularly #LeadershipChat hosted by Lisa Petrilli and Steve Woodruff. Both Lisa and Steve inspired me to do something that I was passionate about just as they had, and creating The Social Workplace (i.e. creating the next generation workplace for businesses where communication and collaboration become truly social) is my passion.

With my subject matter now defined, I set some clear goals of what I wanted to achieve:

  • to encourage thought provoking discussions
  • to be informative & educational
  • to allow passionate people to engage and build new social relationships

The first #SWChat I hosted was titled The Barriers Of The Social Workplace and I can honestly say that the 30 mins before the event started was the most nervous I have ever been in my life. The thought of no-one turning up and just talking to myself was very very scary. But a few people did, and it was an engaging discussion. An encouraging start.

Since then each week #SWChat it has grown from strength to strength where now, from the beginning of February 2011, we achieve an average of 114 people per event providing 1000+ tweets with over 3.5 million impressions.

This has exceeded even my expectations.

Some BIG Thank You's

Creating a Twitter Chat from scratch is definitely not easy. An incredible amount of time and effort goes into planning each chat every week to try to provide interesting and engaging topics, supported by thought provoking questions. You also need to have a good marketing strategy to attract the right audience.

But most of all you need the right people behind you providing direction and support and I am so grateful to have met and worked with some of the most amazing people on #SWChat (...apologies if this sounds like a BAFTA acceptance speech):

  • Lisa Petrilli (@lisapetrilli) and Steve Woodruff (@swoodruff) for their continual support and inspiration
  • Christy Confetti Higgins (@confetti) and Brandie McCallum (@lttlewys) who have been amazing co-hosts and so supportive week after week
  • The #SWChat advisors whom have been great sounding boards when I needed it - Brandie McCallum (@lttlewys); Steve Cassady (@SteveCassady); David A Lee (@DavidALee); Warren Wooden (@PLRNetMarketing); and Meghan M Biro (@MeghanMBiro)
  • #TChat and #bizforum for the marketing partnership we seemed to have stumbled into but very glad we did
  • Liz Christopher (@LizCpher) for help with the topics and questions
  • and finally a big thank you to all the 467 participants who have made the discussions to-date so interesting and engaging

20 weeks is not very long to be thinking if sharing next practices, but I have picked up some good advice and made some mistakes, which i hope others can benefit from who are thinking of starting their own Twitter Chat.

12 Top Tips to Creating a Successful Twitter Chat

1. Select A Subject Matter You Are Passionate About

If you are going to be hosting a Twitter Chat every week, you'd better choose a subject matter that really interests you and are knowledgeable about. Coming up with great topics and questions week after week is a challenge in itself without the burden of disliking the subject.

Your audience will begin to drop off very quickly and never to return, if they sense you are not interested in the subject matter.

2. Participate In Other Twitter Chats

There is no substitution for experience. Therefore take part in a number of different Twitter Chats to get a flavour of what's involved and how the participants respond. Utilise that knowledge and experience to develop your own style.

Don't be afraid to try something different to see how your own audience responds.

3. Build A Knowledge Base

Having a knowledge base or reference point, is essential for informing people what your Twitter Chat is all about, which will help generate a buzz (see example).

It's also important to have a group of people you can turn to as a sounding board to help provide direction.

4. Send In The Co-hosts

This is one of the first (and best) pieces of advice i was ever given.

Having co-hosts allows you to share the responsibilities of hosting thereby relieving some of the pressure off your own shoulders. They can also be great support aids if you run into technical difficulties and are unable to host.

5. Advance Planning

"He who fails to plan, is planning to fail...." - never a truer word spoken when it comes to Twitter Chats.

Some specific areas you need to plan for:

  • Define your topics and questions as early as possible and avoid last minute panics
  • Prepare your introductory tweets in advance
  • Have between 6-8 questions readily available
  • Make all your questions available from in the cloud so your co-host(s) can take over if you run into difficulties (I use
  • Schedule tweets throughout the week to generate awareness and interest (I use Hootsuite)

6. Define Your Marketing Strategy

Sending out a tweet or two is not going to generate that much buzz about your event. Instead, engage in conversation with the people in your stream and ask them to help you raise awareness.

Joint marketing strategies with other related Twitter Chats can be mutually beneficial.

7. Stay On Topic & Keep It Interesting

If your Twitter Chat is about cars, then don't choose a topic about boats. Choosing topics each week that are not related to your subject matter is going to confuse and lose your audience.

The topics also need to be interesting and the questions thought-provoking, to challenge people's perspectives and encourage discussion.

8. Always Welcome Newcomers

I have in the past attended a few Twitter Chats where I said "Hi" and introduced myself and nobody responded. I shortly left never to return.

For this reason I make it a point of saying hi to newcomers and encourage others participating to do the same.

9. React To The Conversation

If the discussion seems to be drying up on a question, throw another one out to keep the conversation flowing. However, if your audience is heavily engaged in a discussion then let it play out before you change the conversation with a new topic. 

Having lots of questions readily available is smart planning but remember you don't need to use them all.

10. Show Respect

If someone tweets something interesting, profound or useful, don't be afraid to retweet it and prefix it with a short comment or a "+10". It's a sign of acknowledgement and respect by the host.

11. Provide Transcripts

Not everyone will be able to make your Twitter Chat every week, and those that can't really do appreciate having a transcript available to read afterwards at a more convenient time.

12. Analyze & Report

Understanding who attends your Twitter Chats each week and what topics appear to be the most popular, will help you plan for future topics.

I use who not only have an incredible tool for analyzing and providing a complete transcript, but also provide fantastic support. Highly recommend them.


7 Top Tips for creating The Social Workplace

There are many top tips out there when it comes to social media strategies, but many of these are based on theory. The top tips below are based on experience (and mistakes) on how to create The Social Workplace:

1. Social technologies enable the strategy, they don't define it
If I had a penny for every time I heard "I want to start doing social media, which Blog do you recommend?" I could afford to buy, and coach, my own England football team ...

The technology is important yes, but it's the last thing to focus on. Firstly, understand the social capabilities of your target audience; identify what you are trying to achieve; plan how you want to achieve it; and finally determine the right social technologies that will lead to success.

2. Do not under-estimate the cultural change
As mentioned in a previous post, I compare the change in culture in using social technologies to that of the early 70's, when people first began walking around with a large telephones strapped to their heads.

People will pick up the concept and benefits of being social in the workplace at a variation of speeds. Some will just "get it", some will need a bit of coaching, whilst others will need a lot of hand-holding.

I've had a lot of success with introducing a remote social media change workshop and is something I would recommend, along with identifying use cases.

3. Find the hook!
Approaching senior management with "I would love to talk to you about social technologies...." is not the way to start your opening pitch (or even for them to allow you to finish your sentence).

Be more bold, and find what is important to them. I often use "Would you like me to reduce your email by 50%?" as an opening gambit and that gets me a coffee and a seat.

4. Start small - Quick win - BIG impact
Trying to do too much too quick is going to have a negative impact and hamper any future opportunities to creating a social workplace.

So identify a solution that has a big business benefit with the minimum of effort. Once you have a successful solution under your belt you can crank it up a notch to the next level.

5. Be creative!
Utilise the right-side of your brain and use social media to explain social media, not large PowerPoint presentations with lots of tiny writing that forces people to squint. If they are reading your slides they are not listening to you.

By creating something that people talk about and share, will enable your message to reach a mass market in a socially connected enterprise much faster than the traditional communication channels.

This is an animated video I created with the help of my good friends at, to communicate the importance to Oracle's sales organisation of being more socially connected (with a little humour mixed in).

6. Be Passionate...
Creating a social workplace is a fairly new concept, and if done correctly can create much more effective and much more efficient business teams.

However it is a big change in culture as I mentioned earlier, and therefore you need to be passionate and resilient in your message before others are willing to believe and follow.

7. Stop, Think, be Social
And finally, before you next send that large presentation to 20+ people asking for their feedback causing huge irritations in doing so, take a step back and think "is there a better way of achieving my goal, a more social way?"

It is far too easy to slip back into the bad habits of traditional communication styles and methods so you need to regularly Stop, Think, and remember to be Social.