Tag Archives: community

Community planning principles (inspired by festivals and foodies)

I always forget how much I appreciate being involved communities until one of those days happen where you get a massive hit of oxytocin and realise how important they are in putting a smile on our face.

When I say community, I use the term very loosely.  It is one of those words that‘s applied across so many different things now, in this case I am referring to a group of people who were brought together to share in the adventure of going on an road trip to a music festival together.

Its not often you meet a group of people who, other than knowing one or two others, didn’t know the majority of people there, but still very quickly and naturally become a happy, thriving mini community.    Other than having an awesome time, the experience got me thinking about why it worked so well?  Was there anything about the approach that was taken that I could learn from?  About the traits you need to build, lead and inspire a strong community of people, where the members get the happiness hit of belonging and the team spirit is strong.

The rough model below is what I came up with.

How that would apply to my festival experience ;

  • People – A group of 35 people all brought together through friends of friends.
  • Passion  – A love of music festivals.
  • Person – The leader of the group, the one who brings it all together.  In this case it was a guy celebrating his 30th birthday, who with a few close friends has co-ordinated the crew, sorted the logistics, answered questions, organized a meet up session where the group could get to know each other beforehand and made sure we had walkie talkies for our convey of 6 campervans so we could keep the conversation going through the entire (long) drive north to Splendour from Sydney.   (Just one of the little touches that helped the community feel ‘together’)
  • Place – As well as the initial face to face meet up, a private Facebook group was created where in the lead up our lead would post regular updates to re-invigorate excitement and others were encouraged to post links and info.  Building momentum and excitement all the while.  It also easily allowed the unfamiliar crew to connect and get to know each other a little better before we departed.   Then of course we had our base camp at the festival, complete with decorated Marque.
  • Points of discussion – The trip and the festival ensured there was always conversation to be had.  Conversation everyone could be involved in and have a point of view about.  Pre the trip the posts on the Facebook group kept the group talking, connecting about the line up, the weather, the party, the food, the outfits, etc.  During the festival there was no shortage of face to face banter and discussion about the acts and general goings-on. Post the event, facebook has again became the place to share photos, videos, memories, in-jokes to keep the conversation and community going, long after the final chillout.

Taking the model out of the context of a crazy crew of pumped people all heading north to party, I thought I would try applying it to another example of another one of my favourite communities.

Secret Foodies.  If you love great food and great company definitely look it up.  They host weekly dining experiences across Sydney that bring foodies together.

“Hosted by Ms Darlinghurst, Secret Foodies’ events are designed to suit people who love great food, meeting new people and have a sense of adventure.”  Secret Foodies website.

  • People – Foodies.  People who express that food is a part of their identity and are proud to freely labeling themselves with that tag that others easily understand and can identify with.
  • Passion – Food, food, more food and some wine and ultimately having a passion for new, different and good food experiences.
  • Place – Talk and discussion is a crucial part of building a community and creating that connection that gives us our happiness hit as people.  Here is takes the form of a dinner table.  One of the most historic community forums of all time.
  • Person  – Ms Darlinghurst aka Alex is the ultimate hostess and runs Secret Foodies.  Always smiling, she has an uncanny knack of always making you feel welcome, included and interesting.  She also effortlessly starts conversations that bring people together, keeps the party energized and always has or finds an answer to any foodie query.
  • Points of discussion – Conversation needs fed.  In this example, this it was literally the food of the 4 course meal we worked our way through, plus the accompanying wines that maintained a lively discussion.   Alex also does a great job at keeping the conversation going after the event through her blog post reviews that everyone is encouraged to get involved in.

Photo courtsey of Secretfoodies.com.au

Overall, both of these examples in reflection seem like common sense, however I think it did no harm to think about them in the context of a model, to help think about what it is about these communities that makes them work and applying those principles before diving into a social or community based marketing initiative.  It is also valuable to think about the technology available that is available to help connect and bring people together, because done well, its this kind of stuff that can help an experience mean so much more.

(Splendour photos courtesy of Alex Luther)

Life in A Day

I saw this campaign for the first time today.  It made me get a little excited and remember why I love working in marketing and advertising.

Life in A Day – A historic, global experiment to create a user generated feature film, shot in a single day, by you.

The film will undoubtedly be beautiful and capture some great insights and moments of real life from all over the world.  But what got me most excited today, were the comments on the YouTube channel.  (Except the obligatory ones about the idea being ripped off)

I do get a bit gushy about community, as some of my close colleagues and friends will know – but I am not embarassed to say I personally love this idea because already, a day or so after launch there were comments and questions from people all over the world.  From the very beginning this project has started to bring together a worldwide community.  A community with a shared purpose.  An experience they can all share, that they can connect through and an end product they will all have had a part in creating.  Something that wouldn’t have been able to happen 5 years ago before we lived in these shared social web times.  (Gush, gush!)

I also love the fact that someone at LG has decided to invest their marketing dollars in this kind of project.  Being brave enough to demonstrate their technology in an idea that does something, rather than just say something about the product.  It also looks like it has been done jointly between Youtube & LG, with no mention of an ad agency – unless I can’t find it?  If this is true, I find that very interesting too.

I eagerly await to see what happens on July 24th and the resulting piece of film that Ridley Scott and Kevin Macdonald will create to premiere at the 2011 Sundance film festival.  Until then, I will enjoy watching the conversation and buzz in the community as it all happens.  I’m in.  So I’ll certainly be out with my camera on the 24th to capture a little bit of my life for them.  I hope you do too.  Nice work LG.

Sharing ‘Me 2.0′ – Personal brands in digital times

The first time I heard the term “personal brand” was back in 2003 when I went to a ‘Young Women in Finance’ networking event in London.    Apparently, when you’re a young female grad in such an industry they feel the need to send you on courses to learn key survival skills to help you get on, in what some see, as a male dominated world even now.

It had all the makings of a great event.  Cherie Blair was the surprise speaker,  I remember being very impressed with her speaking skills and completely inspired by her story of her career.  Plus I met some great girls  - a presenter on Bloomberg, investment bankers at Coutts, so many clever, interesting, young women.  Coupled with the novelty of free drinks (which really were a big novelty back then) I thought I could get into this whole networking thing really.

Then the workshops began, and… it all got a bit weird.  First up was hair and make up, then a bit of wardrobe –  how to dress and present yourself to gain respect in a serious financial world.  Then we did some persona building, we had to write about the woman we wanted to be in 5 years time and then define a personal branding plan to help us get there.

I was fascinated by the whole thing.  I’d only just got past uni and all the job interviews to get into the world of work and career.  Now I was learning about a whole other layer of stuff I had to master in order to succeed?   Me, 22 years old wondering “Who is my personal brand?  Who am I trying to be?  Is that really me?  How would I like to be perceived?”.   But fundamentally thinking how I just didn’t really like the fact that they were teaching us about the appropriate colour of lipstick to wear in the office, or the right type of shoes.  Was it this kind of stuff that was really going to make me?  Was I going to have to lose a bit of myself and create a whole new brand of Nicola Swankie?

As someone who is naturally a bit messy and looks younger than my years I was always going to be challenged in the financial world to look the part and the respect that came with it.  I have  only ever owned one suit that ended up getting moth eaten in my flat in Brixton in 2006.  I don’t think banking was really ever for me.

When I moved into the advertising community, this whole area of personal brand, connecting and networking seemed to be far less formal, in fact, it seemed to be a lot about getting drunk with people to build influence.  I seemed to pick up this skill much more naturally than the neat hairstyles they had tried to teach me at the finance event!  Plus, the fashion allowed for a bit more of a messy demeanor.   But one of the things I loved most about London adland were its characters, some true masters of personal influencing.  They were extremely clever  - with what they wore, who they hung out with, what they talked about in conversation, where they went, what they ensured they publicly associated themselves with and what they made sure no-one ever found out…  (Except the PAs, they knew all).  I could never play the game anywhere near as well as my colleagues, I was forever the one who got too drunk, said the complete wrong thing or just missed the joke,  but I loved watching them at work and at play.

Now though, it’s not just the networking event, the lunch, the industry party or the golf course that matter, or even the lipstick and the shoes.    We now have the ability to broadcast brand ‘me’.  We have become our own little PR machines, managing our reputations online.  And I don’t just mean by what we write about ourselves on a LinkedIn profile, but through what we publish across our numerous social networks and how we operate on a day to day basis in the various online communities we are a part of.   Having the ability to hit so many people with our message is great right?  It makes connecting so much easier, and it gives us more control in how we represent ourselves.  Plus you can measure your success of your actions through followers, friends, interactions, re-tweets, etc, etc.  It has massive feel good factor potential.     However, here are a few personal watch-outs for those people who may just be getting their first taste of happiness through sharing their “personal brand”.  In my view there are some areas in which to tread carefully.  Personal PR can be quite a fickle world to play in.

Networking versus socialising

Networks undoubtedly have value.  Connections matter.   It is still about meeting the right people and building relationships, and now, to a large extent this can all be done online and that’s exciting!  You can do it wherever you are at any time.   It feels good to connect and talk, it makes us happy,  but there is a fine line between networking and just plain playing.   When is it beneficial and when does your interaction with Twitter, LinkedIn and all the rest simply become a massive time suck?   I’ve spoken to many people who tell me of the thrill they get when that little light turns on under the @ sign on Twitter and can be faster to reply to those than to a normal text message.  I’m not saying there is anything wrong with socialising but are you fooling yourself into thinking you are building an influential network when you are really just chatting with your mates?  Really?  Honestly?

Are you building a valuable personal brand or just feeding your own ego?

A slightly different thought, like our princesses of social and sharing competing for Prom Queen, are we in danger of becoming obsessed with managing our own public profiles so we can compare and contrast  with others?  Has marketing yourself become a competitive game?

Yeah, it makes us happy when we share stuff, and if we get re-tweeted and recognised within our close community, it’s even sweeter.  But is this hit of social joy clouding our judgement in how much time we should invest in building our professional profile instead of producing professional work?    Where does our building influence and connections in our own networks stop being useful for us and our employers?   Are we just talking to the same bunch of people?  Are we all just re-tweeting ourselves?   Are we in danger of being in a social media bubble?

We should absolutely listen, look for new conversations to join and people to meet.  But in the same way a diary full of lunches and dinner dates will more than likely end up draining you in the long run- so will playing in these communities and conversations.  Try them out and experiment with different ones, but make sure you pick the right and most beneficial for you, and that might not always be the conversations that just make you feel awesome about yourself. (Sorry!)

Careless sharing

We have all heard the stories of stuff being found on Facebook or Twitter that has affected someone’s career badly.  It sounds simple, but you really do need to apply a bit of common sense to what you share and where now, as well as what others share about you.  We are getting smarter though – this article last week from Pew Internet, makes the point that this generation are getting smarter about how they manage their online reputations – basically because they have to be.

Millennials are “the most active online reputation managers.” They proactively take steps to limit the amount of personal information available about them online, customize privacy settings, delete unwanted comments from their online profiles, and remove their names from photos.

But if I don’t reveal every single step I take, am I hiding something?   Is that suspicious too?

Talking it and doing it are very different things.

There is no worse feeling than when you realise you have oversold yourself and now the reality is you are faced with a situation where you have bitten off more than you can chew.  The online world increases that risk by the security and confidence the keyboard can give us versus what we can do in real life.  We can talk ourselves up, and be a master of the theory, but the hard graft is an entirely different matter and generally, it’s certainly not as fun as the talk that got you there.

The lunches still matter

You can tweet away to your hearts content, but nothing can beat the connection you get with people face to face.  Don’t let your phone get in the way of the physical connection.   It might be tempting, but focusing on the person you are actually with is crucial.  Resist the urge to check in on what else might be happening in the online world.  If the person opposite you feels overlooked that can damage their view on you in a much deeper way than anything online can.

Phew… Can I just be myself now?

My final point is, I think, the most important to consider.  In this world of continual connection and having the ability to broadcast out to our networks at any point in time, have we all just taken the idea of profile management a bit too far?     Do we really need to give people a personal brand so they know what to expect from us?  Can’t we just relax and say what we want sometimes without thinking about the personal branding implications?  Or is the equivalent of going to work with no make-up and unstraightened hair in the bank,  will people really stop taking you seriously?

Maybe its because I am just never destined for success in this kind of thing,  I was never able to look neat enough for banking, and I just don’t have the charm of a London Adlander, but I really like Maureen Johnson‘s thinking in her Accidental Manifesto around this whole area.  Her post got me thinking.  The main messages I took from it were  don’t get too crazy about pushing yourself out there, you might manage yourself into becoming a commodity, churning out what is expected of you because our a perception you have built up about yourself and that’s just silly.  Just let yourself be yourself and crucially, make sure you have a bit of fun.  Here is her manifesto.

Maureen Johnson’s Manifesto

The internet is made of people. People matter. This includes you. Stop trying to sell everything about yourself to everyone. Don’t just hammer away and repeat and talk at people—talk TO people. It’s organic. Make stuff for the internet that matters to you, even if it seems stupid. Do it because it’s good and feels important. Put up more cat pictures. Make more songs. Show your doodles. Give things away and take things that are free. Look at what other people are doing, not to compete, imitate, or compare . . . but because you enjoy looking at the things other people make. Don’t shove yourself into that tiny, airless box called a brand—tiny, airless boxes are for trinkets and dead people.

Photo credit

Man versus machine

I have always loved books and films about the future – A Clockwork Orange, Brave New World, 1984, Blade Runner, AIiRobot, Minority Report, Demolition Man even Back to the Future 2 all make me wide eyed, thoughtful about the future and what it might bring.

What I find most fascinating about these movies is the way they tap into the insight of the human fear of not being able to control what we ourselves have developed as we evolve into this strange new world.

This week has been particularly interesting in this space for me as I have seen some real life things happen that suggest to me that the dystopias predicted in some of my favourite stories happily may never come to pass.  No need to worry about your family robot attacking you in 2020 just quite yet, in fact, it feels more and more man is taking back control of technology and, its technology that is now evolving to become more human friendly.

Four human friendly things I’ve seen this week

1. Pranav Mistry ‘s TED talk.  He calls himself a ‘Desigineer’.  In this talk he goes through what he has developed to try to close the digital divide through his SixthSense project.

“SixthSense’ is a wearable gestural interface that augments the physical world around us with digital information and lets us use natural hand gestures to interact with that information.”

He talks about how we grew up interacting with physical objects and questions why can’t we interact with computers the way we interact with the real world? Why can’t we use any physical object and interact with it with natural gestures?

The technology he has developed to answer these questions is incredible.  One use is actually allowing us to take a photo by simply doing the gesture of taking a photo or dial a phone number using your hand.

I remember being in awe when my CompSci lecturer talked about wearing clothes that would also be computers back in 1998.  Now we face the real prospect of any physical object being able to be a part of our computing interface.  Even the old fashioned, but tried and tested, paper.

2. Building on this, there are some other cool AI developments featured in Gavin’s Servant of Chaos blog post on AI and where it might be going as we head towards 2020, which really excite me.  Again, it really shows how this using technology to make this most of our human to human interaction, not get in the way of our relationships.  I also really liked the thought about looking back at the past to envisage the possibilities of the future, again reminding me of the fantastical fictional depiction’s of the future I mentioned earlier and got me thinking whether we can learn from their predications?

3. Both of the above might be a little way in the future, but right here in the present I have also seen a number of tweets comment on how iPad’s are being noted for being so much more instinctive for kids and even animals.

4. The next example is also happening right now, the Foursquare and MeetUp collaboration. Using technology to help bring likeminded people together in a physical location to share a connection, simple – but something  I believe, as I have previously mentioned, can make us happier people.

Technology, evolution and… school uniforms.

I’m not going to pretend to know much about evolution, but much of what I am seeing with technology at the moment reminds me of a random anecdote my crazy High School English teacher talked about that really stuck in my mind.  He was a stickler for uniform and smartness, and used to talk about the fact that the evolution of fashion amazed him.  Through the ages we developed more and more complex approaches to fashion, often at serious discomfort to ourselves – only to start going backwards in the 20th century when we seemed to realise what we were doing with it wasn’t really practical.  He used to look on dismayed at what the kids considered uniform back in the 90s muttering that he thought it was going backwards so fast eventually we would all end up dressing like cavemen again one day.  Whilst he was just cutely getting disgruntled with the standards of smartness, I think looking back there was actually a fascinating evolutionary comment in what he was saying.

I just wonder whether the developments in the examples above are a sign that our formal, uncomfortable relationship with technology is coming to an end?  Is it time for us to get more casual and importantly comfortable?   Remembering we created it to help us in our lives as humans, not get in the way of us doing what we are naturally designed to do.  Now, I am watching real life wide eyed.

Belonging and the social web

This week I have been learning lots about the human need to belong.   An inherent desire, we all instinctively want to be a part of a greater body or group, and although different people have different solitude tolerances our psyches are fundamentally wired to have social interaction.  Like food or water, we depend on it to live healthy, balanced lives.  We would get sick without it.

Loneliness

What is this sickness?  Loneliness.  I’m currently reading  Loneliness:  Human nature and the need for social connection, which has some fascinating insights about what happens to our brains when we feel lonely.  Being lonely or being rejected actually causes us physical pain medically.  Physical pain that can have all kinds of side effects like weight gain, sleep deprivation, irrational, emotional and often angry behaviour because we are not getting the level of social connection we fundamentally require from other human beings.  It’s our body’s way of telling us that something is wrong and its why, when you don’t get the attention you desire, you can find yourself hurling abuse at your loved one – when all you really want is for them to hold you.  Being lonely really does hurt.  So, like any other pain, it’s instinct to try and find ways to fulfill that need.  How do we do that?  We attempt to connect with people.

This can however, be an intimidating thing to do – even for something as natural as social connection.  Because rejection can intensify the pain even more so and that is a big risk to consider and can put us off ever having those initial conversation through fear of not fitting in or being accepted.    It’s scary stuff.

Figuring out where you fit in

Community is ancient.  Coming together over a shared locale or interest is part of our human nature. I grew up in a small town with local paper which was basically an awesome gossip rag that every week would give you the lowdown on anything that was notable in the town.   You did your social research and it gave you the information to form the basis of your conversation and it gave you ideas of other shared interests you could build your connections around.

Now, its all right there online.   The Social Web has made it easier to make new connections through Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook we can find out what the news is, what people are interested in and we can have the interaction right there and then.

I have some great people in my life in different places all over the world, but I have struggled to ever find somewhere I truly felt like I belonged, both in terms of physical place and social group.  I’ve jumped between groups and re-invented myself on several occasions (particularly as a teenager, indie, emo, sporty, you name the scene – I probably tried it).    When I was younger it was fun – finding out about a new scene, or being smart about getting the gossip on an attractive group to help break the circle and get in with them.

When I moved to Sydney from London the task of finding a whole new social network was huge, but with all these new tools on the web it is interestingly when I have met most likeminded, interesting people in a relatively short amount of time.  Despite the fact everyday I am conscious I am in a foreign country and everything is just a little bit different, I think I might feel like I belong here.

And now we can make friends without actually having to speak or meet anyone in person!

Not only does it make it easier for us to find out more, the social web also gives us the protection to test the water in a little less of a scary way.  We can put our voice out there online without the same fear no-one will listen or respond as in real life, because if no-one does, it doesn’t really matter.  But if you say something good, then they can publicly give you positive feedback of acceptance.

The other great thing about testing the waters of a social group online is that you don’t have the physical worries or pressures you would in real life.  You can hide from home, on your laptop with no make up on and your crappest 1990s band t-shirt.  You can be yourself without worrying what you look or sound like.  You can truly just be yourself and unlike face to face social interaction where appearance is key, online you are much more likely to be judged first of all by what you say.   That is a pretty powerful human benefit and changes the social playing field significantly.

Are we getting addicted to new connections?

But has the web has made it all a bit easy?  Are we all getting addicted to the buzz of breaking into new social groups?  Like the thrill of a first kiss.  But we are not prepared to invest the time or the effort required for long term commitment.  Traditionally, the locality of our towns and families meant that in order to feel like a valued member of the community we had to be there dealing with the good and the bad over the long term, now we can just find another facebook page or Twitter hashtag conversation and all too easily, a whole new batch of potential social connections is right there in front of us.

What can we learn from this?

I’m fascinated about how the web has played around with this part of human nature, but there are some clear opportunities here too.  I very much like the thought referenced by Jye Smith in his blog where he talks about his desire to bring people together through common interests.

For me, in this age of online social connection possibility, can brands package up the hardwired need to belong and create shared interest communities to deliver that benefit?  Some people are saying that community is just the next big fad.  But I just wonder whether something so intregral to our human psyches can really be a passing trend?  Is the more moral question whether you should mess with manufacturing belonging at all?   Its a tricky question – but I can’t help but think it is a positive shift, the more communities there are that people can test out and feel less inhabited to join should result in people becoming more connected, less lonely and I think, a little bit happier.

The princesses of social and sharing

Before you read this post – I ask you girls in particular to cast your mind back to your teenage years.   Specifically, think about that ‘group’ you wanted to be a part of so badly.   I appreciate that may be cringeworthy for some and perhaps too painful for others, but hopefully my reason for taking you back there will start to become clear.

Recently, I have begun to notice a lot of similarities between what I experienced as a teenager to what might actually (strangely) be some guiding principles applicable to building communities in the social web.  This may sound pretty bizarre, it kind of is, but let me explain 5 points I truly believe we can draw on from the behaviour of teenage girls to build desirable sharing, social communities.

1. They create exclusive groups you really want to be a part of.

Maybe its because as a teenage I was generally on the outskirts of the cool groups.  If I did manage to crack into them I didn’t last very long.  I get bored pretty quickly, I was never very good at complying with what was considered to be acceptable behaviour to be in their gang and as a result I was made an outkast on a number of occasions.  This never stopped me wanting to be a part of them though.  Those girls had social influence, they knew where all the best parties were and had all the cutest boys interested in them.  Seeing a group whose members have something that you want makes it desirable.  That coupled with the fact you have to prove your worth and influence your way into it makes it even more so.

2. They create stories and drama

For anything to successfully hold attention, it’s got to be interesting.  Teenage girls have an ability to take the smallest of things and create it into a drama of epic proportions.  They can be ‘creative’ with the truth and can turn any event in something worth talking about.  This is a real skill, showing an aptitude for what will interest and resonate with their audience.  It could be very powerful, applied in the right way.

3. They attention seek

They want to be noticed, and will use their collective power and influence to do so across their networks.  They will make sure they are at all the right events and parties, wearing the right clothes and talking to the right people about the right things.   (Although there is always one member of the group who generally doesn’t get it quite right, who was usually me)  They want to be spoken about and will figure out the best approach in any social situation to make sure get that limelight they crave.

4. They know their target.

To many girls, the success measure is getting the boy.   Teenage girls know how to stalk.  If there is a boy that she wants to get closer to, she will do everything in her power to find out about him, his life and everything he’s into.  Back in pre-internet days that may have involved many cleverly planned conversations and research of school sports notice boards to gain this information.  Now, it’s all there ready to be Googled or seeked out on Facebook or MySpace.  Girls know where to find the information and will make sure they are well read and ready to use it whenever the opportunity comes.

5. They share

Teenage girls share everything.  If you have any 16 year old nieces/cousins I invite you to look at their facebook stream (with their permission for obvious reasons)  I guarantee you will be shocked by how much they put out there to the world.  It’s not a new phenomenon, we’ve done it for years – we just relied on good old fashioned gossip before.  If something is juicy – they will spread it, and they’re really good at it.

They also share resources and they learn from each other.    Tools like clothes, music and make up, but also stories in order to analyse and every single element of each others’ social lives.  They rely on their network for emotional support and shared knowledge.  Although, the amount they share about each others’ relationships they should be experts by the time they are 21 – its never really that straightforward though, as every girl knows.

Now, I am having a bit of fun here – I know my analogy is not exactly the most robust.  The irrational nature of teenage girls to fall out of friendship at an instant, steal a close friend’s boyfriend and be downright devious and untrustworthy is hardly a solid and reliable community base.

However, I do think that any group that command so much passion and attention from connected networks around them must have something we can learn from through observation.

The sound of Vancouver sharing

Thanks to @dailydoseofjess for flagging this to me.

It is a simple post by Navneet Alang about the rarity of collective experience in, what he calls, “these culturally fragmented times”, with the context of the ‘shared moment’ that ‘Vancouver’ had when the Canadian Men’s hockey team scored their winning goal in the Olympics.  The video is beautifully calm, with a building excitement in sound as the climax of the game gets closer.  I really like it.

Isn’t it strange though how a game can evoke so many feelings and emotions in both men and women?   You share a collective passion with complete strangers around you, and it feels amazing.  There are not many other things we share with others that can make us so happy or excited (or share being sad when it doesn’t go so well).

Coincidentally, I also found myself back at a live sporting event for the first time in months this weekend – I had a really good time.  Even though it was actually a pretty boring Rugby game I had forgotten how if you share in a sporting experience, the normal barriers to socialising seem to come crashing down.   Everyone is your friend and everyone is accepted with a shared purpose.

So, thank you Sport -  you brought a smile to my face this weekend.  You can make us ecstatically happy and you can simply get us talking to each other.

I am not sure I agree we have less moments of collective experience now.  In fact – I actually think there are more opportunities  with technology to share moments.  But I agree, sometimes the good old fashioned hug with a random when your team scores really just can’t be beaten.

Scottish romance

It may be wet and wild, but my home country is also one of the most romantic places in the world.   Some days I do miss it very much and the people I left behind.

I am currently helping one of my best friends plan her wedding back home.  I love the fact that through the brilliance of the internet I can still help compile the music playlist – via many cringeworthy, yet hilarious YouTube links,  look at  photographer options, look at many dresses and chat about all the ever so important, intricate details on facebook IM.

It will never be as good as being there – but I am very happy I can still share in the buzz of the lead up to the big day fun.

A new blog

I have been playing with blogs for a while trying to figure out what I wanted to talk about.

I realised reading back through my previous blogs that most of what interested me and what I tended to share was about people.  Either things I thought other people would like, or things about people using social media.

So I have decided to continue to do this – but with a bit more intended purpose this time.  I will attempt to bring you things I like  – that I think might make you smile, or interesting ways I have read or thought about how we use social media as human beings.