Rob Cottingham's blog

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Alex on why you should stop apologizing for your online life

It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking what we do online isn't real, and doesn't matter. And it doesn't help that we've developed the acronym IRL, In Real Life, to refer to the offline world. 

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Just because you have numbers doesn't mean you have insight

One of the most seductive things about social media is the way it allows us to quantify things. I have more friends than she does – I must be more popular. That blog post got more hits than this one, so that one's more effective. We have more Twitter followers this month than last month, so we're on the right track.

Numbers are lovely that way. In a world where everything seems open to interpretation, numbers offer certainty. Five is bigger than three: end of argument.

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The social speech starts long before you take the stage

Engage your audience before your speech

Social speech banner

A lot of speeches begin with someone introducing you to the audience - reciting your background and qualifications, and then encouraging them to greet you warmly as you head to the microphone.

And once the applause dies down, you're looking at a sea of people who are probably as unfamiliar to you as you are to them. Your first few lines not only have to launch your speech, but establish a rapport and some degree of trust with your audience.

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The social speech: How your friends and followers can help you write your next presentation

Social speech banner

Speechwriting is a notoriously solitary profession. You might have a few conversations with a client, their staff or — if you're writing for yourself — a mirror. But a lot of your work is going to be just you, a keyboard and the unforgiving blank screen.

At least, that used to be the case. But when you're crafting a social speech, speechwriting can be a team activity. And even though you still have to do the actual writing, you can draw on the ideas, experience and ingenuity of a large networked audience.

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In defense of white space (and choices)

Gmail's new design offers plenty of white space... and a good example

Big white square

Gmail has had a very interesting redesign. (I love the big fat red "Compose" button. Doesn't work on me, though; I press it, and I'm just as anxious as ever.) You can read about some of the details on the Gmail blog, including an account of the choices they made around designing the left sidebar.

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The social speech

Using social media to turn your next speech into an ongoing conversation

Social speech banner

For all the effort that goes into a speech - especially a big one - they're over surprisingly quickly. You reach a few dozen, a few hundred or (if you have a huge crowd) a few thousand people for a brief while, and then you walk off the stage, and the audience walks out the door.

For a few minutes, you've made a significant connection with those people. But all the potential relationships and conversations that could arise from that connection walk out the door with them.

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When reciprocity is anti-social

Good news: you don't have to follow people back on Twitter

 

I've just read another blog post about someone who was accused of arrogance for not following people on Twitter just because they happen to follow him. And it's driving me crazy - crazy enough to have left a comment on his post, and crazy enough to adapt it below.

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A thicker skin

Don't delete online criticism. Embrace it.

Woman punches computer screen

First posted on ReadWriteWeb

So it’s happened again: a company comes under fire for some misdeed — per­ceived or actual — and gets a few crit­ical com­ments on their Face­book Page. And their crisis com­mu­nic­a­tions strategy is to pour gas­oline on that little flame by deleting those comments.

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If your team won't blog, maybe you need a new approach

How to spur reluctant bloggers

Publish and I Don't Think So buttons

"Why won't they blog?"

That's a lament I hear from community managers, social media practitioners and communications directors who are begging, cajoling, coaxing and wheedling coworkers, trying to get them to post something to their organization's or company's blog.

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Want to populate a blog widget from Google Reader? You still can. (Updated: Or maybe not.)

Use tags to replace the RSS feed from Google Reader's "Share" button

Google Reader evolution - Nov. 2011

Updated: Yes, you get a news feed from this tip... but it's only available if you authenticate as the user who created it. I'm digging around to see if there's a solution.

Social Signal on...

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Work Smarter with Evernote

Get more out of Evernote with Alexandra Samuel's great new ebook, the first in the Harvard Business Press Work Smarter with Social Media series!

Available on Amazon, iTunes and HBR.

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