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Posts tagged ‘Twitter’

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.

A blog about blogging? Shine a light!

Today is Twitter’s 5th birthday. How time flies and never more so than in the increasingly digital world of 24-hour, rolling status updates, constant link-sharing and network-building we live in.

Take blogs. I can remember a not too distant past when bloggers were regarded as quite a strange, far-removed species of geeks, who were never happier than when they were pale-faced and glued to their keyboards. Most bloggers then tended to be writers, tech-heads or both rolled into one.

Quite a few people predicted at the time, that the popularity and, up to then, increasing numbers of blogs would be on the wane – indeed that blogging was slowly dying off.

I must admit I haven’t looked into the facts and figures to back up whether this prediction has turned out to be right, but from where I’m sitting blogging is very much alive and well – with everyone who’s online either posting merrily away or seriously considering launching themselves (or their business) into the blogorati.

Why is this? In a nutshell, professional blogging as an idea has broken through the ‘geek’ barrier and gone mainstream. More and more companies are starting to recognise that if they provide blog posts with valuable and/or engaging content, what they’re effectively doing is breathing new life into their business, brand, and website SEO (Google loves blogs!) without shoving any hard-sell marketing message down the throats of their audience.

For me, my blog lies somewhere between the polar opposites of the entirely professional and the bearing-my-soul personal platforms. Not only do I think this space is a great place to not only share some of my ideas/musings, provide updates on my work and other snippets I hope you, dear readers, find interesting, but I also see it as the perfect vehicle to showcase fantastic events, organisations and businesses I come across in my professional and personal comings and goings.

So with this in mind, ladies and gents, drum roll please as I proudly present….

the stellamedia spotlight – a brand new regular section of my blog, which I’m already thinking of as my own bespoke and inspirational ‘feel good’ newspaper. If you want to be featured or know someone who might, just drop me a line at stellamedia@googlemail.com.

Watch this space for the first business ‘star’ I’ll be highlighting soon….

Happy Blogging!

Inspiring change in Mexico City

Guest blog by Emma Wass, who is a trainee broadcast journalist at the University of Sheffield, presenter/producer at Sheffield Live! 93.2fm and publicity officer for theatre company The Company

I had an amazing trip to Mexico last year with my friend Cecilia and completely fell in love with the country and people. During my stay I visited a friend from university, Andy, who was volunteering at a home for street children in Mexico City, Casa Alianza. Mexico City is one of the most overpopulated cities in the world, with over 20 million inhabitants.

So I got to know about Casa Alianza through Andy, and even met some of the teenage boys one day when I went with them to a football match. They were so friendly, enthusiastic and interested in me and the UK, asking dozens of questions, I was really touched. Andy had told me some of the boys’ back stories, and I suppose I had expected them to be much more introvert, unhappy and quiet. They were completely the opposite; a great credit to the charity and the work they do.

The children found on the streets are from a variety of backgrounds. Some are orphans, others have been abandoned by their families, others are victims of abuse. Casa Alianza gradually gets the children off the streets and into their residential programme, and then helps with their rehabilitation and education. Some children are reintegrated back into their families, others go back to school or find work.

I was urged to raise money for them at the end of last year because they had a fire and the home was completely destroyed. The children are all still in temporary accommodation and they have a long way to go before they have enough funds to rebuild Casa Alianza.

So I’ve organised a fun, Latin-themed night at local tapas bar and restaurant Cubana on Sunday 13th March to raise money. 50% of the ticket sales for ¡Noche Latina! will go directly to Casa Alianza. Tickets include a tapas dinner, a welcome cocktail, Salsa, Merengue and Rueda lessons (no experience required!) and a DJ for the evening. There will also be a raffle, which is included in your ticket, and we have some great prizes so far, including 2 tickets to see Sweeney Todd at the Lyceum theatre.

Tickets (£20) can be bought through my Sponduly site: www.sponduly.com/casaalianza.htm.

Any problems or queries please contact me directly on 07738 249412 or email emmawass@hotmail.co.uk.

This is a charity that is little known in the UK, and I want that to change. Casa Alianza has four homes throughout Central America which really are lifelines for hundreds, even thousands of children each year. You can find out more about the charity on their website www.casa-alianza.org.uk.

Follow Emma on Twitter: http://twitter.com/emmawass

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!

Review: Andy Kirkpatrick ‘Off the Wall’

Andy climbing El Cap. Photo: Speakers From The Edge

For those who’re not familiar with Sheffield, the city has a thriving climbing and general ‘outdoors’ culture, thanks largely to its geographical make-up (built on seven hills, located a stone’s throw away from the Peak District). So last week, when I attended ‘Off the Wall’ – a talk by experienced internationally-acclaimed mountaineer and comedian Andy Kirkpatrick, at The University of Sheffield, I expected the climbing fraternity to be out in force. Yes, the weather was arctic, but I couldn’t help thinking the ‘extreme’ conditions were rather apt (I arrived in walking boots, feet buried in two pairs of thick socks).

A quick once-over of the audience revealed a wide cross-section of young and old with a healthy balanced male/female ratio, who clearly hadn’t been deterred by the cold either. Once Andy launched into his show, we were soon hit with great doses of heart-warming humour and gentle semi-confessional observations, as he took us on a journey to try to understand what lies at the bottom of his inherent urge to climb, with the aid of stunning photography revealing some of the many wild places he’s conquered.

I’m not a climber (although I’m a passionate hill-walker) but my lack of knowledge or experience, didn’t affect my enjoyment of the night, as Andy’s well-paced show has a universal appeal – it’s a stand-up show, adventure photo-mentary and motivational talk all rolled into one.

One iconic mountain Andy focuses on is El Capitan, in California’s Yosemite Park. As he tells us he’s climbed El Cap, as it’s often called, 18 times, there’s no hint of alpha male, puffed-up chest posturing. Instead Andy gave us a hilarious anecdote about the merits of using pain au chocolat as a universal, language-busting measuring system, when explaining dimensions to fellow climbers from far-flung corners of the globe.

Andy on the Reticent Wall, El Cap. Photo: Speakers From The Edge

One point in the show really struck an inspirational chord with me, when Andy spoke about the thin line between bravery and zaniness/stupidity, which can equally apply to intrepid mountaineers, as it can in other areas of life. If the crazy, madcap or maverick survive their hare-brained adventure to tell their tale, they’re hailed and remembered as heroes.

Speaking to Rebecca Varley, of Sheffield-based company Speakers From The Edge, who organised ‘Off the Wall’ and also represent the best motivational speakers from the world of adventure, exploration and human endurance, after Andy’s show, she explained how Andy tailors each show to his audience, so Sheffield’s version had a bit more ‘climber speak’ than others in the tour. Maybe I know more about climbing than I thought!

Andy’s obviously a natural climber and fantastic entertainer to (well-trodden) boot. Go see him, if you want to experience a unique night that which takes comedy & motivational speaking to new undiscovered heights.

Andy’s last date of this current tour is on Monday 14 February 2011, at the Buxton Opera House. Click the following link for more information:

http://www.speakersfromtheedge.com/node/219

Interested in buying an ‘Off the Wall’ DVD? Click the following link:

http://www.andy-kirkpatrick.com/shop/product/off_the_wall

To find out more about Speakers From The Edge visit:

http://www.speakersfromtheedge.com/

Follow them on Twitter: http://twitter.com/SpeakersEdge/

Follow Andy Kirkpatrick on Twitter: http://twitter.com/psychovertical

Silent voices speaking out

Sometimes it’s hard to see qualities in yourself which might seem obvious to others. In my working life, I’ve met plenty of fantastic journalists – people who have spent their careers crafting and weaving text to educate and entertain – who visibly balk at the mention of the ‘c’ word. As soon as it’s uttered, I have watched them recoil in horror. ‘No, I’m not like that,’ they shudder. ‘Not one of those…’

And no, before you think I’m being horribly rude, I’m not talking about that ‘c’ word. Dear readers, I’m actually waxing lyrical about what is too often regarded as an ‘airy fairy’ aspect to our characters. It’s a natural human trait, elevated to a higher value before we hit adulthood, why does the idea of creativity get a pretty raw deal in ‘grown-up’ sectors of society?

I can understand why the phrase ‘creatives’ induces this indifferent attitude. But I don’t buy into the idea that there are some people will never have this ‘gift’ – that only the elite, certain sophisticated souls, can possibly be creative.

Everyone can harness this capacity if they are given the opportunity and space to let their imagination and confidence grow. So when my inspirational friend Justine Gaubert (http://twitter.com/SilentShe) asked me to become a voluntary board member of a new social enterprise she was setting up, which builds creative environments where silent voices can flourish, I jumped at the chance to be involved.

So, drum roll please, may I introduce you to Silent Cities – http://www.silentcities.org.uk/

As Silent Cities has just been born, I’m all too aware we are at the beginning of a long rollercoaster journey but as a board we are full of purpose, hope and commitment…. and of course creativity! Watch this space for more news about Silent Cities – we are starting off by piloting the scheme in Sheffield, so if you are in or live nearby the Steel City and would like to get involved as a volunteer in any capacity please register your interest on the website.

And keep those imaginations flowing!

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!

Mother, I won’t be in the cold for long

After all the whizz and clatter which revolved around my last post – chronicling my latest momentous decision to jettison myself from my professional comfy slippers of journalism into the sharp-heeled world of corporate communications – I was then inadvertently but temporarily tripped up good and proper by one female I wouldn’t dream of messing with.

That’s right, Mother Nature got the boot in. Or should that be industrial-sized wellies?

Along came the Big Freeze and suddenly all my carefully-crafted emails to contacts old, new and yet-to-be, as well as my lovingly-prepared elevator pitch for my first networking event of the year(forced to be postponed due to ‘inclement weather’), went the same way as poor Jack Frost under a cheap sun bed.

Shaking off my frustration, I’m pleased to say I haven’t been left with any lasting ‘I’m out in the cold’ feeling, despite the fact my car still resembles a mammoth marshmallow.

Besides, whoever said being snow-marooned means you’re necessarily starved of stories or interesting subjects? Here’s my pick of three hot topics of debate I’ve enjoyed over the past seven sub-zero days:

R4’s Women’s Hour looks inside the Pandora’s Box of mother and daughter relationships
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/womanshour/04/2010_01_wed.shtml

Do portraits of family life raise difficult questions about children and photography?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2010/jan/11/elinor-carucci-children-photography

Forget the election soap box, research suggests Cameron and Brown are neglecting to step up to the social networking plate
http://www.mediaweek.co.uk/news/976385/Tories-Labour-failing-protect-digital-reputations/

With a reputed thaw round the icy corner, it seems, at least when it comes to Twitter(http://twitter.com/stellamedia) I’m streets ahead of the two political big-hitters mentioned in the last above link, as I’m off to my first ever tweetup tomorrow evening, happening in the city I’m proud to call home, Sheffield.

Here’s the details:
http://upcoming.yahoo.com/event/5175055/SY/Sheffield/syorkstweetup-2/Showroom-BarCaf

Blow me down, but life’s still rather tweet.