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Posts tagged ‘Facebook’

Farewell to self-employment, hello again to the stellamedia blog…

Yes, you read right. Do not adjust your screens folks. After over 11 rollercoaster years of being a sole trader [journalist > copywriter > blogger > PR > social media consultant. Phew!] I’m thrilled to announce I have been appointed in a full time permanent job, which begins next month.

My new role is Social Media and Content Manager of Patient.co.uk – already one of the most trusted online medical information and support websites in the UK. Exciting changes and developments are ahead for this brand in 2012 and beyond.

My base remains here in wonderful Sheffield and over the next few weeks I’ll be revamping and removing the ‘business’ aspect to this site – turning it back into its original incarnation as a lifestyle blog, created just for fun & hopefully to inspire, inform and entertain.

I anticipate I’ll be sharing my thoughts/ideas/photos focused on my interests, including food, culture, Sheffield life, plus now and then I’ll talk about branding, social media, the art of storytelling in communications et al.

So this isn’t really a goodbye post…just a THANK YOU to everyone, whether you’re a current or former client, collaborator, like-minded business, fellow media or creative type, for supporting me and my business in so many ways.

In future, I’ll still be tweeting under @stellamedia. Plus, I’ll continue to provide social media content for the Sheffield Culture, under my freelance role for Sheffield City Council.

So don’t forget to keep me posted on any cultural/creative/sport etc info that’s Sheffield-related to me by emailing: culture@welcometosheffield.co.uk, tweeting news to @sheffculture [or sharing with the Twitter community via #sheffculture] or posting relevant info on the ‘Sheffield City of Culture’ Facebook page.

Farewell for now dear readers…and see you on the other side! ;0

Social media and events taking centre stage for new Culture Forum

Silversmith Owen Waterhouse with candlestick, at Culture Strategy Launch Event. Photo supplied by Sheffield City Council

Sheffield City Council’s recently-launched culture strategy is to be supported by three special cultural events and a dedicated social media online presence, over the next 12 months.

Funded by the Council, these exclusive events and digital channels are designed to enable individuals and organisations within the grassroots cultural community of Sheffield to stay connected with each other, under the banner of a Culture Forum for the city.

Two Sheffield-based businesses have been appointed on a freelance basis by the Council to support the Culture Forum. Ben Duong, founder of The North marketing agency, is co-ordinating the three events, under the banner of The North Culture Club. While Stella Eleftheriades, director of copywriting and social media specialists, stellamedia, is taking charge of the social media and blogging accounts.

Amy Carter, Head of Arts, Museums and Cultural Promotion at Sheffield City Council says: ‘The three events will be themed around the main objectives of the cultural strategy with the first being ‘Economic Impact’ on 12th May, and will be held in conjunction with the Site Gallery. We will be showcasing a diverse range of Sheffield based creative individuals/businesses that have done some amazing work outside of the city, not just in the UK, but also internationally. For example, Human Studios currently have an exhibition of their work in a gallery in Tokyo; Nick Deakin created an illustration character for a Coca-Cola advertisement; and Forced Entertainment, a theatre performance group, will be going on a European tour from April.’

The other two events are set to take place on 8th September 2011 and 19th January 2012 and will be themed around ‘Excellence’ and ‘Participation’. During the events, follow live tweets on (hashtag) #sheffieldculture.

To join the Culture Forum on Facebook search for ‘Sheffield City of Culture’, to follow on Twitter use @sheffculture and blog posts and further information will be featured on: http://www.welcometosheffield.co.uk/culture.

Listings and notifications of events, workshops and exhibitions can be sent to culture@welcometosheffield.co.uk

Sheffield City Council’s culture strategy is a direct follow-on from Sheffield’s 2010 UK City of Culture bid and is a call to action for the people of the city to get involved and participate in cultural activity.

Move over, Santa Claus – Sponduly.com’s coming to town!

Imagine getting the investment you really need to get your project off the ground? You’re there. Right, now imagine that investor turning round to you and saying they didn’t need you to pay their money back. Yes, you heard right.

Now you might be thinking I’ve had one too many cheeky Christmas Sherries, but not I’m talking the stuff of fairy tales or elves. Instead, I’m spreading the word about Sponduly.com – a very real entity which epitomises the goodwill and generosity we often limit to sharing just around this time of year.

Based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, founder and managing director of Sponduly.com, Jon Covey, explains more: ‘The idea for Sponduly started forming in my head about August this year, after I read a message from someone on LinkedIn, who was asking if anyone wanted to work with him for free, as a non-executive director. Reading that, I realised there were many people who’d work for free simply to help others and I also knew lots of people who needed that help. Sponduly.com is a community platform, which brings these two groups of people together.’

After months of hard work, developing the site and promoting Sponduly.com, primarily by word of mouth and social media activity, Jon’s brainchild continues to grow and currently has 12 live projects, who are seeking funding and any other support which could be offered, by one of the 89 members, who’ve signed up to the free media hub.

Jon’s idea could be considered to be particularly timely, considering the government recent policy strategy surrounding the idea of a ‘Big Society’, because Sponduly.com exists to support charities and community-based projects, as well as small, start-up businesses or enterprising individuals.

Jon is looking forward to more people to sign up to the media hub for free, as well as further projects coming onboard the good ship Sponduly.com.

So if you’re looking to spread some Christmas cheer all year round, don’t wait for Santa to pop down your chimney. Simply check out: http://www.sponduly.com/

Join Sponduly on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Sponduly

Follow Sponduly on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spondulycom/160036084018631

Merry Christmas one & all!

Taking stock and snapping smiles

Photo credit: Richard Bolam Digital Media http://richardbolam.com/

Even though I’ve built my career on writing, thirteen years on from my first paid work as a journalist I remain fascinated by the process of getting the words which start somewhere in your head down onto paper (or, more often than not these days, laptop screen).

At the risk of sounding as though I have a mild, somewhat geeky super-power, I can usually hear the text spoken somewhere in my grey matter before the words work down to my fingers. So I put this question to the other wordsmiths out there (just because I’m interested to know): How do you work your magic? Do the fingers start moving before you know how you’re going to finish the sentence? All comments most welcome!

I’m taking stock of this text-based creative process because, as from next week, I’ve been knocking out these weekly blog posts for your enlightment and entertainment for five uninterrupted months.

In the grand expanse of the bloggarati world, this represents a mere click of a mouse. In my world though, steeped in the grand old tradition of print media, this small personal challenge has loomed pretty large. You could say, dear reader, it’s been a case of no pain, no gain.

I’m glad I’ve stuck with blogging – without a doubt it’s paid off and breathed new life into my professional world. And as someone who’s worked solo for a long time, it’s been a fantastic boost to receive supportive feedback from contacts old and new, so thank you – and please keep them coming!

A great blog needs an authentic voice. For some who are further immersed in the techy/online world than myself, this translates to simply posting a series of links they found interesting/useful. The voice for stellamedia speaks is still organically forming but from the outset I’ve treated my postings in the same way a newspaper columnist gets their day job done. The constant question has been: ‘What do I write about this week?’

So that’s why I got to pondering the process of what happens to me when I’m faced with a blank screen every week. There I sit, fingers poised over keyboard, waiting for my super-power to kick in. Sometimes this happens fast, sometimes the ‘voice’ comes through as faint whisper.

This week I had a screamer. ‘Why not tell everyone about your Facebook group about smiley faces?’ So I’m telling you about it. It’s called ‘The first time I ever saw your face’ and was sparked by the rather odd but harmless habit I started forming of taking photos of ‘faces’ everywhere I went. Suddenly I found myself capturing visages in buildings, trees, gadgets, food…and so the list went on.

I soon discovered I wasn’t the only snapper who did this. Once I created the group and started posting my (mostly) smiley snaps, others soon followed suit. Today I’m proud to say there’s 115 members from many corners of the globe. If you fancy joining, please feel free: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=49347870969&ref=ts

Keep on smiling!

The world wide egg: How do you share yours?


My initial courtship with what’s now a significant other in my life had the most mundane and ordinary of beginnings. For one thing, our first date wasn’t in a swish location – ‘we’ started in a stuffy and crowded office.

Neither did I have the thrilling luxury of a one-to-one, intimate encounter. Instead I had to sit at a special computer, within the buzzing features desk of the busy weekly magazine where I worked.

Back then, in 1998, no-one I knew expected anything different. The doorway I was about to open wasn’t the swing one we now take for granted, forever at the tips of our click-ready fingers. In many ways, this 24-hour culture was still the stuff of science fiction – a mere technological twinkle in the eyes of the Geekarati.

Yes, dear reader, I’m talking about the first time I set up my first private, web-based email account. Of course, I already had a virtual address, provided by work and strictly used for business.

Only once I started my personal, pleasure-based relationship with email, another tantalising world opened up to me. Keeping in touch with friends, ordering gig tickets, shopping, sharing photos (or as back then, a never-ending supply of silly jokes)…all this and more seemed so much simpler, quicker and…well, fun, than ever before.

You can guess how the rest of my email relationship has developed. There are times when I love its capacity for brevity, others when I curse the reams of messages I inevitably sift through, but really could I give email up? Would I want to? Never!

Other later communication milestones in my life also started out in this similar, nonchalent manner – YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook were once optional amusing extras in my life but now I couldn’t imagine my future without them.

Still, while I’m devoted to social media, I can understand the bewildered reaction many people still have to this vital part of my life. ‘Why,’ they might ask, ‘do you Tweet about an event you’ve just been to?’ Maybe I’d watch their confused faces when I tell them I share photos of the latest cake I’ve just baked with those I’m virtually connected to.

My answer to such bemused protests would be simple. My online presence works for me because I enjoy feeling connected and sharing with others. My life feels richer for it. I’d like to think the effect of my internet comings and goings is a two-way street.

Of course, the internet is a double-edged sword. For every person who gains connections, there’s one who loses their grasp on their close tangible, relationships. You know the scenes so well they’ve become well-worn cliches. The teenager playing video games until his thumbs bleed, the lonely married virtually cruising for company…

As a journalist, I’ve written endless ‘internet love cheat’ stories. On the other hand, I think of another batch of articles I’ve brought to the world – the ‘online reunions of long-lost mum/dad/sister.’

All in all, I look at the internet in a positive light. For me, it’s not a ‘faceless’ world but one founded on freedom.

Whether that means sharing knowledge, information and opinion or building friendships beyond physical boundaries or pioneering modern ways of balancing careers with home life – just like the Easter eggs being devoured this weekend – the world wide web was made for sharing.

So am I right? Do you think the internet is friend or foe?

Let’s share!

Surviving the advertising jungle is simples!

There’s no physical obstacles to stop us all giving TV adverts the big brush off. Maybe you’re the kind of person who opts for the classic ‘I’ll just nip off to make some tea,’ trick. Or do you reach for your remote with Olympic-speed, flicking channel after channel until those jaunty singing bankers or odd felt people are no more(well at least for the next fifteen minutes)?

And now, there’s another anti-armchair selling weapon. On-demand TV has arrived in a bright HD-ready dawn, to save us all from the good, bad and downright ugly little slices of screen sell that we can readily skip…

Well, guess what? When it comes to the new darling of the advertising world, it seems the Great British public don’t want to run a mile. On the contrary, they can’t get enough of one particular meerkat with an exotic accent.

Everyone knows advertising revenue – except online which seems to bucking the trend – has been struggling long before the latest drop. So I was as surprised as the next animal-loving media-savvy commentator to read how Aleksander Orlov – the furry public face of price comparison website, comparethemarket.com – has thrown an almighty curve ball into the ring and shaken up the marketing world by becoming a money-spinning sensation.

Someone somewhere hit on a magic formula but few seem to fully understand how the wizards who crafted this ad have worked such wonders. Buying into the brand is one thing, but Orlov’s appeal has extended far beyond the company he’s representing. I’m all for sharing interests on social networking sites but really don’t twig why hundreds of thousands of people are avidly following Orlov on Facebook and Twitter!

Maybe this is another flash in the pan(remember Flat Eric?) but guesstimating your business model is proving to be popular. In these uncertain times, I can think of at least three micro-economies off the top of my head who continually seem to be obsessing over what’s going to be the ‘next big thing’ – the motor industry(more rumblings over the electric car this week), the press/media(will future consumers pay for either print or online content?) and book publishing(latest projections about the e-reading market seem upbeat).

One thing’s for sure, if advertising’s a jungle, right now it’s the meerkat who’s got the lion’s share of the market.

Read all about the Orlov effect: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/jan/16/aleksander-orlov-price-comparison-ads

Here’s a couple of other topical items which interested me over the last seven days.

Sheffield’s female steel army of WW2 are finally officially honoured:
http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/article6985651.ece

Debate surrounding the white working class:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/womanshour/01/2010_02_fri.shtml

Have a great channel-hopping week!