Facebook Rock

Facebook threw a party in the county jail
The fans were there and they began to wail
The newsfeed was jumpin’ and the joint began to swing
You should’ve heard them investors sing

Let’s rock; everybody, let’s rock
Everybody in the whole cell block
Was dancin’ to the Facebook Rock

Advertisers played the tenor saxophone
CIA was blowin’ on the slide trombone
The Stanford boy from New York went crash, boom, bang
The whole of Wall Street was the purple gang

Let’s rock; everybody, let’s rock
Everybody in the whole cell block
Was dancin’ to the Facebook Rock

The advertiser said to number three
“You’re the cutest fan I ever did see
I sure would be delighted with your data feed”
Come on and do the Facebook Rock with me

Let’s rock; everybody, let’s rock
Everybody in the whole cell block
Was dancin’ to the Facebook Rock

Organic reach was sittin’ on a block of stone
Way over in the corner weepin’ all alone
The warden said, “Hey, buddy, don’t you be no square
If you can’t find an audience, buy a whole lot here

Let’s rock; everybody, let’s rock
Everybody in the whole cell block
Was dancin’ to the Facebook Rock

Twitter said to Bugs, “For Heaven’s sake
No one’s lookin'; now’s our chance to make a break”
Bugsy turned to Twitter and he said, “Nix, nix
I want to stick around a while and get my clicks

Let’s rock; everybody, let’s rock
Everybody in the whole cell block
Was dancin’ to the Facebook Rock

Dancin’ to the Facebook Rock
Dancin’ to the Facebook Rock
Dancin’ to the Facebook Rock
Dancin’ to the Facebook Rock
Dancin’ to the Facebook Rock


NET:101 Podcast: Gerry McCusker on Being a ‘Tough to Love’ Brand in Social Media

Organisations whose operational and reputational DNA involves enforcement, jurisdiction, policing, prohibition or taxation are not cool. Just aren’t. And when they’re on social, they’re more often flamed than famed.

Interviewer: Tim Martin

Here’s a sample from the interview,  or listen to the full version here.


Sorry Kevin – An Open Letter


Dear Kevin

I just want to apologise for criticising your website in public last week – it was unfair of me to call it a “piece of shit” in front of a room full of people.

I know that you must have spent quite a bit of time and money to get it launched seven years ago. And anyway, word on the street is those particular shades of brown are going to be big again in 2015… so you’re actually on the cutting edge there. Respect.

Just who the hell did I think I was when I said that the stock image on your homepage looked ridiculous?? Hey, that was my mistake – two suited-up alpha-males facing off on a chessboard is powerful stuff. I should have seen it for what it was: a multi-layered business metaphor.

And what about that totally cheap crack I made about you not having your telephone number anywhere on the site? A contact form alone is perfectly fine for people who need to get in touch with you. On reflection, I hate it too when potential new clients call me on the phone – usually right when I’m in the middle of something!

Bigger, brighter, wider websites – who needs em? The way your little site floats in the middle of my computer screen all surrounded by black is a statement of confidence in of itself – you just don’t see enough of that  ‘devil may care’ attitude anymore.

Here it is: my core misunderstanding was that I didn’t appreciate what a super-busy operator you are – there’s really no way a guy like you should ever need to spare a passing thought for his primary, branded online presence. Just let it be, everything’s cool Mac. Sheesh, like you I’ve got to learn not to get so uptight over the little things.

So Kevin, I’m totally back in my box where I belong. I’m sorry. Can you forgive me?


P.S. Fully loving that Facebook page you guys have happening. To help make up for my potty mouth in public I’ve gone ahead and liked your page, boosting your fan-count almost into double figures. And I’m really looking forward to seeing your stuff on my newsfeed. I showed my wife your last post, the one with the cat rollerblading… we both laughed until it hurt. Keep it coming!


23 indicators for choosing a quality social media course in Australia


There are some excellent social media course providers in Australia… and a lot of dodgy ones. Use these leading quality indicators before heading down the wrong rabbit-hole.

1. Social Proof
Are their social media courses any good? Look for their online reviews, any social media buzz and mentions using their brand hashtag – there should be plenty of good stuff to easily find if people have enjoyed and valued their experience.

2. Their Blog
Read their blog. Any social media presenter worth their salt will have a damn fresh, fun, interesting and informative blog happening. You can tell a lot about the level of thinking of an individual or an organisation by reading back through their posts.

3. FAQ’s
Is there a comprehensive FAQ’s section? They would know the questions that commonly come up and have already addressed them in advance.

4. The Presenter
Do your background research on the course presenter – do they have a well decked-out profile and picture? Are there links to their LinkedIn profile and personal social media accounts? Do they have a YouTube channel or podcast you can reference? Do they present elsewhere at an industry level, e.g. conferences or business associations? Can you contact the presenter directly to ask a question or get a feel for their personality?

5. Their Website
Their website should be credible, easy to use, intuitive. Anyone presenting on any aspect of social media without a smart, well-organised website behind them should be avoided (akin to entering a doctor’s medical practice and finding a filthy reception area). Hint: if you see any use of cliché stock imagery on their website, run the other way.

6. Refund Policy
Look for a flexible refund/ credit/ substitution booking policy. Good social media course providers will offer a no-questions-asked refund for any course cancellation 3-5 days before the course start date (ours is 3 days).

7. Booking Surcharges
No hidden costs. The headline price must include GST (by law) and there should be no booking fee surcharges. Some providers use third-party ticketing services such as Eventbrite and will pass on an additional 3-5% ‘booking fee’.

8. Too Cheap
Avoid cheap or free social media courses – chances are you’ll be hard-sold something by pseudo trainers (CAE and community courses excepted, but they’re another story…)

9. Past Attendees
Who’s previously attended? Review their attendee list to determine the types of organisations and people represented compared to your own professional background.

10. Minimum Numbers to Proceed
Lower-level social media course providers frequently cancel their sessions due to poor booking numbers – be weary if they they make a big point of ‘minimum numbers to proceed’ within their booking conditions.

11. Charity and Other Discounts
Are there visible and generous discounts available for charities, not-for-profits and financially pressed individuals? It would be mean not to. There should also be discount structures in place for multiple course and group bookings.

12. Registration and Payment Options
The registration process can be fully completed online. Payment options should include both credit card or via an automatically generated invoice.

13. Course Program
Is the course program fully articulated with a logical structure, or is it full of mumbo-jumbo buzzwords which you don’t understand? You want to see evidence that the session will run according to a pre-defined program. Their should also be a program PDF available to download for those who need to share the course details with others (typically for approval or sign-off).

14. Dedicated Training Org
Does the social media course provider offer training as their main focus or is it just a side offering? Agencies often run public social media training as a way to drum up consulting work.

15. Choice of Forward Course Dates
Ad hoc social media course providers tend not to have many forward dates. Other providers tout courses ‘on demand’. Neither are not serious players.

16. Work Booklet & Online Support Resources
A comprehensive work booklet should be provided, and post-course resources made available online. The hard works begins when you get back to the office and need to make reference to the learnings.

17. Internet Connection & Access to Power
The course room should have a free and fast wireless network and easy desk-access to power for people who like to tinker about in the background on their laptop/ tablet.

18. Reminder Service
An email or text reminder service should be in place – it’s easy to forget a date after you’ve booked it in advance.

19.Course Certification
Is some form of certification offered? At the very least a certificate of training or attendance should be made available on the day.

20. Venue Facilities
The venue should be at ‘corporate’ level – not a community hall or a B-grade function room in a suburban motel. The venue location should be close to public transport options and all-day public parking.

21. Catering Options
Full, complementary catering with special dietary options is a given. The availability of continuous tea and coffee throughout the full session is nice.

22. Responsiveness
How responsive are they to contact form submissions or email enquiries? A personalised (not canned) response within 24 hours is a good sign.

23. Fish
Is there a fish on the website homepage? If yes, that’s a super-strong indicator of educational quality – definitely book a course with them!


NET:101 Podcast: Simon Pilkington on Google Analytics

You probably have Google Analytics sitting on your website, but are you utilising even a small fraction of all the wonderful stuff it can do for you? Find out here with Certified Google Analytics Partner, Simon Pilkington from Technium.

Interviewer: Tim Martin

Here’s a sample from the interview,  or listen to the full version here.

We need to talk about your outsourcing…


You’re outsourcing too much. You’ve made, and are making, unnecessary payments to others for those simple tasks which you need performed repeatedly. You know the sort: basic image manipulation for a branded social media banner or post; adding, amending or deleting content from your website; analytics reporting (to name just a few). It seems like an easy out but it’s counter-productive for both you and your business:

It’s a mystery
It looks complicated and it’s not. Because of your triple-digital IQ and open mind we can teach you how do all of this stuff within minutes or hours – with the same ease your consultant/ agency learnt how to do it. Better still, get your agency to show you how any of it’s done next time rather than getting them to parachute it into you directly.

No feel for the tools
“But you never asked us for that.” You’ll hear that after discovering a new tool, application or process all by yourself and then asking your agency why they never offered it to you as an option. When you play with the tools yourself you get a feel for them and their wider application (because you don’t know what you don’t know).

Life in the slow lane
In the time it takes to communicate your requirement you could have done it yourself (really). And get it the way you wanted it the first time before your brief was misinterpreted.

The axe
Lots of little costs =  one big cost. One day you’ll announce “Let’s cut this big cost.” i.e. axe this consultant/ agency. Then a bunch of small but important things will stop getting done because neither you or anyone else  internally knows how to do any of it (most of the internet’s stale websites have gone down this path).

The fun police
Don’t be your own fun police. Get hands-on with the tools – YOU’LL LIKE IT. You may even decide to set up your own consultancy once you work out how simple it is, how much fun it can be, and how many people are willing to pay easy coin to get others to do it for them.


Lessons in History

This year I’ve focused my business reading on the back-stories of the internet and social media  – here’s what I can recommend (they’re all terrific)…


In The Plex
Steven Levy

The Year Without Pants
Scott Berkun
The Everything Store
Brad Stone
Steve Jobs
Walter Isaacson


Hatching Twitter
Nick Bilton
You Are Here
Hiawatha Bray
The Master Switch
Tim Wu
Automate This
Christopher Steiner

Don’t do a social media degree


I have 3 degrees and no regrets, but when it comes to social media…

1. You’ll learn your best stuff – your skills, your art – in situ. Nothing beats on-the-ground practical experience for disciplines which are relatively new and evolving quickly.

2. Three years to complete your degree is 25 years in internet time. What you learn in the your first year probably won’t apply by the time you finish.

3. Employers are less impressed with ‘piece of paper’ credentials these days. They’ll want and expect to see evidence of what you’ve done and are doing in social media now: your online portfolio. Start beefing up a multi-platform portfolio/ CV which includes more than just Facebook – it’ll carry demonstrated weight at your first interview.

4. If you want to access social media theory there’s a bucket of learning resources out there – blogs, books, podcasts and online videos. If you lack the discipline to self-learn, probably best you stay away from social media anyway (in this space we’re ALL self-learning every day).

3. Need social media skills? Top up regularly with any number of quality courses available somewhere near you.

5. Still want to do a degree and be a social media manager? Do a Bachelor of Arts. We’re desperate for humanists, communicators and people who know how to string a sentence together.

6. Still want to do a degree but not a Bachelor of Arts? Study business. For many organisations their entry into social media is based on commercial drivers – if you have a good business-head on your shoulders you’ll have a big advantage.


If you meet a SEO guy, run the other way.

crim 2

Most SEO ‘consultants’ are dodgy as hell – they’ll take your money and do you damage. But if you’ve already gone down that dark hole, consider the following:

1. SEO (search engine optimisation) is driven by solid content, not the sprinkling of keywords. One does not ‘do’ SEO,  one creates volumes of great market aligned content. Is your consultant helping you with content creation? Would your SEO guy know the first thing about the informational needs of your target audiences? Probably not.

2. SEO is not about optimising your website for the 50 most popular keywords. Read ‘The Long Tail’ by Chris Anderson if you want insight to the thinking process of the remaining 98% of any given market segment.

3. SEO is not a set-and-forget thing. Quality content creation and online publishing is an ongoing business imperative (no-one said this would be easy, but then again if it were easy everyone would be doing it well).

4. SEO trickery is dangerous. Contrived back-links, repetitive anchor-text, keyword density formulas and other mumbo-jumbo will be sooner or later be caught out in a search engine algorithm update and your website will be slapped back to the last century.

5. SEO ‘maintenance  plans’ are a RORT. Maintaining what!?

6. SEO without conversion reporting is meaningless. Who cares how many people arrived to your website via organic search – for most of us that’s only a mean to some business end. See if you can find a SEO consultant who will take payment based on measurable conversion performance (good luck).

7. Many so-called SEO consultants have the worst websites – crap copy, cheesy stock images, unsubstantiated claims – they’re not very good marketers. And you want to let them loose on your business…?


The Trunk.

Your website: the truck which must support everything else you have online.

Email: an outbound marketing channel without equal; always be inviting visitors to your website to opt into your comms loop, and then invite them back to the site from within the newsletter.  Social media: your community… eventually they’ll end up back at the website (hopefully). Search engine optimisation: a website without wide and varied market-aligned content is like a guitar without strings… you won’t be able to play the informational tunes your target audiences are hungry for. Analytics: track website conversions and value via your most valuable referral sources: email, social and organic search.

Respect the trunk.