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@belllindsay @flemingsean I miss you... there's a joke somewhere about me having a crappy aim, right..?  ;)

10 months, 1 week ago on Why Work for Free? Because it Works

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@belllindsay @flemingsean You and I are most definitely on the same side of the line here. I'm not sure I was splitting hairs though. Being careful about the distinction I make, perhaps. 

Free is a bad word. If something is free it has no value. Things that have value can be exchanged for other things that have value, not just for money - a kind of esoteric bartering, if you like. :)

You're right, I do a lot of unpaid work - some of it's PR, some of it's journalism, some of it's music. Some of it makes me look good, some of it makes me feel good. 

Right now, I'm doing some consultancy work with an actor in Hollywood (has been in several TV shows that I'm confident everyone will have heard of if not seen). I'm not accepting payment for this consultancy for a number of reasons. I'm not convinced they could afford my market rate, but I really want to work with them, chiefly because it's interesting, it's different, it's making me think.

That feels like payment.

I recently got offered a commission by a global publishing concern ... would I write an article for them, they were offering $80 for something that would have required a day's work, maybe two.

That felt like an attempt at exploitation. Mostly because I know they could afford to pay writers properly but they won't because they know there are people out there desperate to work. So I politely declined.

The internship thing is a grey area. The real problem is with the intent on the part of the company taking on the interns. Are they offering training and development, or just taking advantage..? In the UK there's a move toward making payment of interns mandatory, but that's probably because we have a problem with businesses taking advantage of young people and not providing anything of value during the internship.

;)

10 months, 1 week ago on Why Work for Free? Because it Works

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Nice piece, LB. It touches on a few fundamentals, some of which frequently get lost in the simplicity of language - free, for example, is a big concept for such a small word.

I never work for free, but I have no problem doing unpaid work. 

Interns should, likewise, get something in return for the hours they spend and the work they do. I think there's a strong argument for mandatory payment of interns, simply because there are so many scumbags who treat young people as slave labour; there's little in the way of learning and development, nor any money. That's unacceptable and helps no one. The intern is taken advantage of, the business stagnates because rather than adopting a culture of development it becomes fixated on using free labour to keep costs down and profits up.

But Sean, you may be thinking, that's the whole point of being in business. No - the whole point of being in business is to do better in the future than you did in the past, and you don't get there as a result of a race-to-the-bottom mentality predicated on knocking things out as cheap as possible.

So, why work for free? Well, you shouldn't - only an idiot would choose to work for free, and far too many people are forced to by circumstance. 

Every economic activity you participate in is an opportunity to invest in yourself. The returns you get on that investment might be of the immediate financial variety (cash, salary, etc) or it might be getting your work published by a well-respected title, or by learning a new skill that can be put to good economic use in the future. Or - and call me an old hippy if you like - it might be that you get to feel good about yourself because you are helping someone out.


10 months, 2 weeks ago on Why Work for Free? Because it Works

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I'm afraid I take issue with a great deal of this. Starting with "91% of adults now use social media regularly" and "Internet users now spend 3 times longer on social media and blogs than they do on email."

If you're going to use the word "now" please give readers a point of comparison. If it's 91% 'now' what did it used to be... 10%..? 20%..? 80%..? 

Context is everything.

Which brings me to the "91% of adults" thing. I *think* you mean 91% of adults in the US. The internet and social media are global phenomenon, so you need to make that kind of thing clear.

Also, it's an implausibly high figure. But maybe that's just the cynical old journalist in me.

67% of people are more likely to buy from a company they follow on Twitter sounds great but I wonder if cause & effect have been correctly attributed here. What proportion of that 67% started following the brands they like and buy from? What proportion have started buying from brands they encountered on social media? That would be more interesting and more valuable. Sadly there aren't many stats on that.

I'm also not convinced that email will go the way of VHS et al. Email has become an over-used method of communication and a sizeable amount of that over-use could easily be replaced by social tools (and I'm referring as much to the way people communicate in the work environment as in the personal sense). 

Email is a very important part of the way business and people communicate. Should it be used more sparingly? Absolutely. Will it be replaced by social tools? No.

Finally... of course people spend longer on blogs, the internet and social media than they do on email. I'm only surprised it's as low as three-times longer when you think of all the information, videos, comments, cat-pictures etc that people can lose many hours looking at, compared with email which is rarely as entertaining.



1 year ago on Check out these stats if you need convincing your business should be on social media

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As a parent and a Catholic (albeit lapsed), I say "well done Sarah Crouch and St Mary's school." 

I find it staggering that anyone would have a problem with this. If any institution could benefit from guidance on how to tackle an issue like this with sensitivity and with no loss of determination, it would be a Catholic school.

Anything that works toward reducing bullying and improving understanding can only be a good thing.

Those people who think the Catholic church has a particularly grim view of gay people have missed a few key facts. After all, we're all sinners in the eyes of the Catholic church - all of us. Anyone singling out the gay community as a particularly sinful group of people is nothing more than a bigot.

1 year, 3 months ago on Catholic primary calls in Stonewall after pupil calls another student’s shoes ‘gay’

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 @ginidietrich There's another use I can put it too.... I'm involved in a major change management project and am constantly having to put new ideas in front of people.  But the important thing is that it all has to be evidence based.  This tool will really come into its own.

1 year, 8 months ago on Use the Google Keyword Tool for Content Ideas

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That's really useful! Thanks for sharing Gini.

1 year, 8 months ago on Use the Google Keyword Tool for Content Ideas

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@Erin F. @barrettrossie @flemingsean - 'Ello guvnor, Big Ben, Parliament, English muffin... :)

An inquest would (typically) be headed by a judge to investigate a death, or fatal accident, or something of that nature.

Scotland Yard is where London's police force are headquartered (the Metropolitan Police) so that would just refer to the police going about their business.

Cheers..!

1 year, 9 months ago on Write Right: Enquire versus Inquire

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 @SharonBautista Sharon, I'm also a singer/songwriter/musician.  But because I work in PR & digital communications, I've been watching the MySpace resurrection rumours for a while, with mounting interest.  

I have a feeling that if/when the 'new' MySpace gets its act together there could well be a surge in interest in it.  I think a combination of nostalgia (a bit like the sentiments you've expressed) and a desire from many people for an alternative to Facebook (burn all the people who say Google+ is a Facebook alternative, it isn't).

I'm not the only person expressing this view - about MySpace making a genuine comeback.  No, it's not obvious, it might not even be likely.  But there are a lot of indicators there that it might be on the cards.

IF MySpace gets itself together.  :)

1 year, 9 months ago on Is it Time to Breakup With Facebook?

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I've written about this before too. In September 2011, in a post entitled "I don't want you but I need you":

 

http://seanfleming.com/i-dont-want-you-but-i-need-you/

1 year, 9 months ago on Is it Time to Breakup With Facebook?

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My three cents on this issue.... creativity will never get a seat on the board.  Never.

 

Results will.

 

Results need to be measured though.  They can be delivered by dint of amazingly creative ideas, but if you don't know what to measure (because that little rascal is not the same for each and every client and/or campaign) and you don't know how to measure it, and you aren't able to put the measurements into a succinct and compelling format, no measure of creativity will stop you from being disregarded as fluffy or nebulous.

 

Money talks. Bull-poop walks. Or so the saying sort of goes.

 

Run a PR agency...? Hire teams of people, get them to work as teams. Scrutinise the gaps in individuals' capabilities and in team performance. But do not do so looking for failings. Do it so that you can identify what your people need from you in order to become better.

1 year, 9 months ago on Bah Humbug! New Study Shows PR Industry Lacks Creativity

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 @ginidietrich  @Shonali 1000%...? And you said you like math. :)

1 year, 9 months ago on Bah Humbug! New Study Shows PR Industry Lacks Creativity

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I wrote about this. On Saturday. How very zeitgeisty.... http://seanfleming.com/the-data-day-challenges-facing-many-pr-firms/

1 year, 9 months ago on Bah Humbug! New Study Shows PR Industry Lacks Creativity

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 @belllindsay Are you classing yourself as American these days?

1 year, 9 months ago on Gin and Topics: Cats, Dogs, and Our Friends

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We (Europeans) are pathologically lazy.

 

I blame it on our socialized health care.  It's made us weak.

 

You should come to London.  Nothing much ever happens there either.  Apart from fog and chimney sweeps, of course.

1 year, 9 months ago on Gin and Topics: Cats, Dogs, and Our Friends

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Ultimately, most of us are too small - in organisational terms - to be of real interest to Google, and far too small to support effectively.

1 year, 9 months ago on Google Apps Assassinated My Domain - BEWARE!

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 @Carmelo  @belllindsay You know what they say about the UK & the US... two nations divided by a common language.  You're right about Lindsay.  Man, what a hoot.

 

I wonder how Canadians pronounce the word 'hoot'.

1 year, 9 months ago on The Vacation Nation: Unlimited Paid Time Off

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 @belllindsay  @Carmelo That's just ridiculous. Friends....??? Sheesh,  Delusional Canuck.

1 year, 9 months ago on The Vacation Nation: Unlimited Paid Time Off

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 @Carmelo  @belllindsay It's not you Carmelo, it's me.  It's happened to me here once or twice (more) before.  I read things very literally I guess. I've also tried to make jokes and they've just upset people.  So, I totally get it.  :)

 

When I was running my own PR consultancy, the first time I allowed myself to go away for a week and leave my team to look after things was a very liberating experience.

 

1 year, 9 months ago on The Vacation Nation: Unlimited Paid Time Off

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 @belllindsay  @Carmelo I'll tell you what really sucks where this is concerned... if your boss changes the structure of your team so that you are the only senior person in a team of four or five.  Try taking anything more than a couple of days off without them calling you because they don't know what to do in a given scenario.

So, consequently, you don't take proper holidays and you lose a substantial chunk of your leave entitlement.

That would be terrible. I am so tremendously pleased I've never found myself in a situation like that one.

1 year, 9 months ago on The Vacation Nation: Unlimited Paid Time Off

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 @barrettrossie I totally get this. We had one family holiday when I was a kid. Just one. I was four years old. The next time I went on holiday I was 34 years old.  

1 year, 9 months ago on The Vacation Nation: Unlimited Paid Time Off

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 @Carmelo There's no choice here in the UK, no. You get whatever the company has agreed to give its staff. It's rare that you're allowed to save your leave up. Use it or lose it..!!

1 year, 9 months ago on The Vacation Nation: Unlimited Paid Time Off

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 @belllindsay Pretty good, yes. Apart from the smell. But I won't mention that in polite company.  :)

1 year, 9 months ago on The Vacation Nation: Unlimited Paid Time Off

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 @magriebler  @belllindsay And... they're Swedes! A heady cocktail of reasons to stay there. 

1 year, 9 months ago on The Vacation Nation: Unlimited Paid Time Off

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 @belllindsay Well, five weeks off really... in Mon-Fri terms.  

Also, most of the rest of Europe is governed by the Working Time Directive, which means people can't work more than 48 hours in a week. By law. Yes, by law.

The UK opted out.

Then there's the issue of employment rights. We have much much stricter terms of employment here than in the US (I'm ashamed to say, my Maritimer friend, I'm terribly ignorant of how things are in Canada). But basically, once you've been in post for a year it is really really really really (yes that much) hard for your employer to get rid of you. Unless you commit an act of gross misconduct, you can't be fired for things like poor performance, lateness, too much time off sick etc.

The employer has to follow an exacting process of meetings, reviews and consultations. They might have to pay for the employee to get legal advice (a capped sum, not a blank cheque/check).

Any deviation from the process can lead to an employer being seriously fined in court (an employment tribunal). 

I'm sure it sounds great in many respects but you should never forget this is Britain I'm talking about... the land of warm beer and cold welcomes. :)

1 year, 9 months ago on The Vacation Nation: Unlimited Paid Time Off

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In the UK it's common to get 25 days annual leave allocation. That's in addition to public holidays, which we refer to as Bank Holidays. There are nine of those in 2012. Usually there are just eight. The extra day off was because of the Queen's Jubilee celebrations (gawd bless yer, ma'am).

 

I've never actually managed to take off all the holiday I'm entitled to.

 

I must try harder.

1 year, 9 months ago on The Vacation Nation: Unlimited Paid Time Off

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@SocialMediaDDS

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment Claudia, I really appreciate it and I'm delighted you enjoyed reading my post.

 

You are so right about negative comments being a learning opportunity. Failure can be an amazing teacher at times... but not one I'd want to spend too much time in the company of.

 

More than the ability to turn a negative situation to your advantage, which is something I think all successful leaders must be able to do, for me the fascination lies in watching respected businesses with significant comms teams (and the attendant deep pockets) let things get so badly out of hand and end up with egg on their faces.

 

I *love* that you refer to the importance of being authentic. This is another of my recent interests.

 

Thanks again.  :)

 

Sean

 

Added later:

Note to self - when leaving a reply do try to actually leave a reply, rather than posting a whole new comment. Otherwise people will think you're a bit goofy.

 

1 year, 9 months ago on Don’t Make a Crisis Out of Opportunity

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 @barrettrossie Thanks Barrett.  I thought Gini's post was excellent. 

1 year, 9 months ago on Don’t Make a Crisis Out of Opportunity

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 @belllindsay  @ElissaFreeman Sometimes you have to accept that you are the bad karma that someone deserves, and that your duty is to serve up a helping of comeuppance, with a side of you-had-this-coming.

1 year, 9 months ago on Employer Ensures Employees Aren’t Happy by Leading with Fear

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@thejoshuawilner @belllindsay Joshua... I was kidding. Apologies for not being obvious about it. You're right, I was being silly. It was an attempt at humour. No offence intended.

1 year, 10 months ago on Dear Pinterest: I Loathe You No Longer

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 @belllindsay  @ginidietrich Just for the record, I might be a 'renaissance man' but I'm not a fan of musical theatre.

1 year, 10 months ago on Dear Pinterest: I Loathe You No Longer

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 @ginidietrich 

Fairy cakes, Gini..!  I'm British.  They're fairy cakes.  One eats them whilst drinking one's tea.

1 year, 10 months ago on Dear Pinterest: I Loathe You No Longer

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 @belllindsay  @thejoshuawilner Two things I'd say here.... 1) you're clearly following the wrong people; 2) nothing wrong with 'girly' (whatever that is).

1 year, 10 months ago on Dear Pinterest: I Loathe You No Longer

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 @ExtremelyAvg 

My understanding is that they acknowledge the copyright holder and you don't lose rights when you put your stuff on Pinterest.

 

In fact, they emailed users back in May of this year to clarify that they are not attempting to claim sufficient rights or ownership that would allow them to sell your copyrighted works, nor do they intend to ever do that.  That, for me, is a nice approach to untangling some of the legal BS that works its way into the ToS.  :)

 

There are other issues of course, around suing for example,  If I'm in the UK (which I am) and someone in Brazil steals one of my images and puts it on a commercial website, how am I going to sue them...?  It will be costly, time-consuming, difficult and with a high likelihood of failure. I think. Emphasis on the *think*!

 

As a general rule of thumb, I trust the internet-using people of the world more than I trust the legal profession.  :)

1 year, 10 months ago on Dear Pinterest: I Loathe You No Longer

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 @ExtremelyAvg 

 

I think there's a general point to be made about the 'sharing' nature of the internet. You post something online, there's a good chance someone will share it or copy it without even knowing there is such a thing as copyright.

 

Even this morning, I found a well-known London PR agency using images on its blog that are copyrighted - and there's no way in hell they got permission from the rightsholder.

 

I have a few of my own photographs on Pinterest. Lots of people have 'liked' them, shared them (repinned) and so on.

 

Has my copyright been infringed?  Hmm, maybe.  But I had nothing to lose, commercially, so I took the decision that I didn't care.  I take a similar (although not identical) approach to the songs I write, record and put on Soundcloud.

 

Pinterest has ToS that are all about respecting copyright. But they can't actively police the way things are used.

 

Facebook won't let you pin things to Pinterest.  That isn't a copyright thing.  It's a commercial decision based on their roadmap for future products and services.

 

From my personal point of view, I *got* Pinterest the moment I saw it and instantly fell in love with it.  Why, after all, shouldn't there be something for the simple act of sharing the things you like in image form? Not everyone is great with the written word, so it makes perfect sense to have social platforms based on imagery.

 

Furthermore, we are an image obsessed species.  The success of an image based platform was never surprising, although the rate of growth has been breathtaking.

 

There are other reasons I like it. But if I start on them I'll have left a comment that's longer than Lindsay's excellent article.

1 year, 10 months ago on Dear Pinterest: I Loathe You No Longer

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 @Danny Brown  @UniqueVisitor  @ginidietrich 

 

I have always been an advocate of the following mantra - the early bird may get the worm, but it's the *second* mouse that gets the cheese.

1 year, 10 months ago on Will Facebook Collections Kill Pinterest?

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 @justinspage Do you ever get emails from friends/colleagues etc that sign off with something like "sent unedited"..?  I always read that to mean one of two things: 1) you're not important enough for me to take the time to check what I've written; 2) I'm not smart enough to spot my errors.

 

Slowing down is definitely good advice.

1 year, 11 months ago on Six Tips for Better Business Writing

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 @belllindsay  @RebeccaTodd  @jasonkonopinski My brother teaches history in a US university.  He set a paper for his students on Tamburlaine the Great.  One student had diligently used spellchecker and autocorrect, and handed in a paper about Timberland the Great.

1 year, 11 months ago on Six Tips for Better Business Writing

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Number three is all about the difference between knowing your shit and knowing you're shit.

 

 

1 year, 11 months ago on Six Tips for Better Business Writing

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Great post.  I've been meaning to write something on this topic myself. Not sure I need to now.  :)

2 years, 1 month ago on Are We Too Old For Social Media–Or Not Old Enough?

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This is a great piece.

 

The key thing here, imo, is that the responsibility lies with the journalist (and/or blogger) to check their facts. To an extent, I expect amateur bloggers not to understand that concept. But journalists, or those writing for commercially-run blogs, have nowhere to hide on this one.

 

Check your facts. Do not run with a single-sourced story. Ask questions. Be wary... the source feeding information to you has an agenda. They always do. 

 

Hard work and professional persistence are the things that separate the good from the great in journalism.

 

As for those of us on the PR side of the wire... we have to decide if we want to play fast and loose with our individual reputations or not. Hello... personal branding anyone..?

 

Great stuff, as always, Gini.

 

 

2 years, 1 month ago on Trust Me I’m Lying: How One Person is Hurting an Entire Industry

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As someone with a lot of crisis comms and social media experience (relatively speaking, after all the latter is still a young field) I'm afraid I only go along with you so far.

 

First thing I believe it's important to clear up... there is no such thing as a social media crisis. There are crises, end of story. Some go public and some don't. 

 

I come from the school of thought that says, just because social media is new (ish) doesn't mean you have to forget everything you learned at Grandma's* knee (* - other childhood influences are available for the purposes of illustrating my point).

 

What I mean by that is... be nice! Unless you want people to think of you as a tool, don't act like one. The way to successfully handle a crisis via social media is to be consistent in all your words and deeds and to continue being yourself (all of which applies equally to brands and individuals).  It's all about authenticity, after all; if your audience/community/customers have bought into who you are and what you are like, don't lose that in the heat of a crisis-fuelled moment.

 

In the example you gave of the company you worked for that had trouble paying its suppliers, it wouldn't really matter whether there was a plan in place or not. It's not cool to not pay people - they will hate you for it and they will cause trouble for you no matter what you say or what you do. Some bullets can't be dodged... it's the "don't be a tool" thing I mentioned above.

 

Have plans, of course.  Plans are good.  But don't let a plan get in the way of talking to people the way they have grown accustomed to you talking to them. Otherwise you may have two problems on your hands.

2 years, 1 month ago on Social Media Crisis Management: Sin & Salvation Within Your Reach

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I have, I must confess, a bit of a problem with the whole “personal branding is a whole lot of hogwash” point of view, especially (only..?) if it is espoused by people who have become just that – a brand in their own right.

For the eleventy-billionth time I find myself scratching my head wondering why people insist on trying to cloak this stuff in their own favourite brand of communications voodoo.

There’s only one ‘golden rule’ when it comes to social media, in my opinion. It’s the whole “be authentic” thing. Stick with that (and the awesomely valuable words of wisdom in Lindsay Bell’s piece about giving back and respecting the space) and there’s every chance people will come to respect you, admire you, seek your counsel and value your opinion.Until one day… shazam… you find you have become a personal brand.

Some are born personal brands (hi Prince William), some achieve personal brand status and some grub about all over the internet in a desperate attempt to have it thrust upon them…

I think we all know people who fit into those loose categories and who is worth listening to.

This is a great piece, Lindsay… I’m listening.

2 years, 1 month ago on The Other Side of The Personal Branding Coin

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I agree completely. This kind of assessment of "influence" is far too simplistic and therefore can never (or *should* never) be relied upon.

2 years, 2 months ago on Is Klout Score Completely Irrelevant?

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Why on earth would anyone (and yes, Mr Chappelow I *am* looking at you) publicise the fact they would make such a boneheaded judgement call..?

 

The way a person speaks is important, of course.  But not that important.

 

BTW, and in case you were wondering, I - being a Brit - have the kind of accent some people immediately find makes me sound more intelligent.  This is, of course, ridiculous.

 

Class, snobbery and segregation - in all forms - are vile.

2 years, 3 months ago on Would You Like Vocal Fries With that Order?

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 @russ_dean Surely there's a key difference, in that the Skittles were bought prior to the murder and have nothing to do with the murder..?  This really has nothing to do with Wrigley.  They are being dragged into it by opportunists.  It's quite ugly.

2 years, 5 months ago on PR Crisis for Skittles In Wake of Controversial Teen Shooting

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@belllindsay Some people just like to look for the negative though, don't they! :)

Thanks for the twitter follow.

2 years, 7 months ago on The Art of Storytelling

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@belllindsay I'm always delighted when someone reads stuff I've written, so thank you!

One interesting piece of feedback I had at the time I wrote that piece was that by using the word "story" in conjunction with PR, I was making it sound like PR is all about making things up... IE it's all fiction, don't believe it.

Made me a little sad. The person who said that may have missed the point. The point is that that narrative (or story) has to flow through everything; it's the thread onto which you attach the individual pieces of work you produce.

It's good to have "met" you! :)

Best,

Sean

2 years, 7 months ago on The Art of Storytelling

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