#29Social is Tonight at 29 Private Member’s Club

Please Join Us #29Social – Tonight From 6!

Really looking forward to tonight’s event about Blogging. I love blogging. Wish I had more time to keep blogging but like most small business owners there are not enough hours in the day. In any event I look forward to spending some time chatting to my panel – Emma – Allison and Andrew – who are foodie, wedding and beauty bloggers respectively! The event’s open to anyone who fancies a night of informal networking. You don’t necessarily need to be a blogger or be interested in setting one up any time soon. It will still be a good chance to come and meet some new and fabulous folks!  See more details about the event and my panelists – in my last #29Social update.

Join us for some informal networking #29Social - Sept 20 2015.

Open to suggestions on what the topic should be for the next #29social. If you can’t make tonight please feel free to follow along on the #29social hashtag

Next blog post I’ll talk more about next week’s event at the new Village Hotel in Glasgow – it’s called Southsiders in Business and almost all our tickets are gone for that popular event.

New Social Media Training Dates

After last month’s training up in Benbecula (The Western Isles of Scotland), I am really looking forward to doing some more training up Scotland’s West Coast. Just waiting in the confirmations, but it looks as thought some new “firsts” for me are on the horizon for me up in Oban, Dunoon and Inveraray.

The two classes for this round are – Intro to Social Media  and Developing a Social Media Strategy. The first one looks at various platforms – usual suspects like Facebook and Twitter – but then takes in other channels worth considering. We also look at some of the Tools to help you manage and monitor it.

Here are a few worth while Social Media links I’ve come across this week.

How Spirit Airlines Embraced Brand Hate and Won This really made me smile.
The 4 Basic Principles of Presentation Design – Another good column worth


Silicon Valley LunchIn other news, Tonight is the launch party for the tenth anniversary of the Blogher conference in San Jose which I wrote about in last week’s blog (when I booked it). I have a feeling it will be a pretty tiring few days but I am very excited just the same. There are going to be some amazing talks. It’s very handy that this has come now as next month I am doing an Intro to Blogging course for Business Gateway on behalf of Postable Ltd.

Everyday is a school day. Off to enjoy the sun. . .I may need to go and buy some outfits for the next two days! Any excuse right?

Valley Girl Update – Week 1

So it’s always a mixed blessing being back in the Valley. San Jose (the Bay Area in general) is a great place… to visit. The weather is good. Food-a-plenty. Gas is cheap (compared to the UK anyway). Shops galore. Etc. Etc. Etc.

The flip side, however, is that it’s hot, crowded, over-priced (in many ways) and traffic is a bee-atch…to name but a few.

So I signed up to go to a Tech in Motion mixer. Frankly I have no idea what that even is but it sounded good.

Whenever I am back here, I try to go to as many events (tech or otherwise) as possible. The theory is to hopefully stay ahead of the curve on Social Media and Tech but also, I may just come up with (or back with) an idea to launch in Glasgow one of these days. My mantra in life is to be open to all possibilities.

Downtown San Jose CA - on the way to Tech In Motion MeetupSo I arrive at the Blackbird Tavern in Downtown San Jose – faced with several hundred strangers. Who do you pick to strike up a conversation with when faced with a sea of unfamiliar faces? Some days, I find networking a whole lot harder than others but it was a case of “feel the fear and do it anyway”.

One of the first guys, Steve, I meet is from Los Angeles, but working on a project at Google. He’s chatty and interesting. We swap cards and move on to work the patio.

By the time I check-in with the hostess, the FREE drinks tickets have gone, so I make my way to the bar for a tap water (yep, that’s how I roll) and find a group to introduce myself to.

There’s the guy from India, a lovely young couple from Australia,  a guy from Chicago and one guy from Northern California. The night pretty much went on like this – whereby everyone I met was from somewhere else.

It begs the questions – are there any Native Californians left in California?

Just about every day I hear comments like “You’re from California, what are you doing here?” – often uttered in the most incredulous fashion as if to say “You must be mad”.

But the fact is, unless you’ve actually LIVED in the Valley, you don’t know what you’re talking about.  Yes it’s a hotbed of innovation. Of that there is no doubt. But comes with that – the inflated house prices, and the sense of entitlement that is unlike anywhere else I’ve been. Egos-a-plenty.

Driving in your car and need to change lanes? Well, good luck with that. God forbid someone will actually let you in. They’re always in a hurry to get somewhere very important no doubt.

As with any networking events, I always feel quite content if I’ve made a connection or two. If I’ve come away with a business card of someone I may actually want to speak to again, or had a meaningful conversation, or learned about a website or app – it’s a success to me. So the night was a success.

Happy the Documentary on AmazonMeanwhile I’m watching TV with my dad, brainstorming ideas poolside, reading a Dummies Guide to Buddhism, watching thought-provoking documentaries like ‘Happy” and generally just trying to enjoy some downtime. It’s been a full-on few months and the schedule is set to continue that way from Aug through October so I may as well make the most of the my time here.

Next week I’m looking forward to the Blogher14 conference which I am quite certain will be amazing. Watch this space.

Blogher14 – Blogging Conference in San Jose

Attending Blogher 14 for the first time - in San Jose

This has been a pretty cool year for me – conferences wise – starting with the CES conference in Vegas. Enjoyed the techie talk, keynotes and gadgets. A lot! Then it was the Digital 2014 conference in Glasgow last month.  Now, I’ve just signed up to attend Blogher14 – their tenth anniversary, and my first time attending.  I’m pretty excited, I have to admit.

Attending Blogher 14 for the first time - in San Jose

There are some pretty excellent break-out sessions, keynotes, sponsors and bloggers in attendance. Seems like a good few parties happening there to boot!

One thing that excites me most is the talk of Guy Kawasaki with Adriana Huffington. Does it get any bigger or cooler than that?

My main aim for attending Blogher14 is to work on ways I can monetize my 14-year old website/blog – soyouvebeendumped.com. But my secondary aims are to learn some new things and meet some great people. I can’t help but wonder what some of the egos will be like at this sort of thing. Hopefully not too big.

Will write more either just before or after it…probably not during it. But you may find the odd tweet if you follow me on twitter…

Spruce Up Your Blog with Images

2014 Is the Year of Visual Marketing

Well it’s no secret that pictures (and videos) can make blog posts easier to read and digest. Having heard about sites like Canva and PicMonkey quite a lot from the professionals I follow online I’ve been getting tucked in them. Well Picmonkey. For some reason it resonates with me easier or better (am a little obsessed with it) but they essentially do the same thing…I’ve always loved quotes AND taking pictures – so combining the two of them brings me great joy!

Use Picture Quotes

Quotes are a great way to illustrate your point in blog posts or across your social media channels. It could be one you like from a celebrated writer, musician or even an esteemed president – like this one from Abraham Lincoln – that I uncovered this morning on my hard drive from a quotes document from 2008.

Lincoln quote: If you look for bad in people expecting to find it, you surely will.Another idea might be to tie in a quote from a famous TV show. For instance this week on the Good Wife a quote that Will said to Alicia resonated with me and I decided to make it a “meme” to share on social. (Want to learn a bit more about what MEMEs are? Read this Martin Shervington post on Google+)

Will Gardner in the Good Wife says "Hey we've all got a past that can hurt us. Don't let yours hurt you"It has been noted that visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text, so they really aren’t kidding when they say that “A picture is worth a thousand words”. It is. That’s why images and infographics go down so well on Social Media and across the web itself.

One last one that I’ll share with you here was from Jake Gyllenhaal on Inside the Actors Studio (love that show). Not only is he rather easy on the eyes, but he also had such a wit and soulfulness about him that made him even more attractive. Here’s Jake on EGO and kindness.

Jake Gyllenhaal on Inisde the Actors Studio

I’ve been making at least one picture quote a day – mostly for soyouvebeendumped.com. They are either inspirational quotations, like the ones above, or sometimes they’re simply funny breakup lines like the one below (which is supposed to sort of resemble a ‘post-it’ note)…

A post-it breakup line for soyouvebeendumped.com

Get Visual Yourself

Why don’t you have a go with creating some sort of images for your blog or social media channel? They don’t have to be quotes, they can be infographics or promotional offers or anything really. Any visually eye-catching.

My examples above are simple text on backgrounds, but often I use my own photos that I take (daily), or occasionally ones I’ve found on sites that contain FREE IMAGES.

Here are my many photos and quotes for inspiration to my So You’ve Been Dumped community.

Interestingly, in the past month, since doing these daily, my Google Plus profile views have increased dramatically. SYBD profile views were under 50,000, exactly one month ago. Now over 210,000. So this stuff really does work to help build brand awareness anyway.