Peter Handley's Blog Organic Search Engine Marketer, Portsmouth, Hampshire
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    March 6th, 2011ismepeteBlogging, Personal, Social Media

    On my way up to Think Visibility, I spied the following Tweet from Dan Harrison, a Twitter friend I was hoping to meet for the first time (despite the fact that we were both travelling up to Leeds from the south of England):

    meeting old friends for the first time

    This really resonated with me, as it’s how I’ve felt about every event that I have thus far attended in the search marketing arena.

    As I touched upon in a previous post, Twitter (which is my main tool for this type of engagement), is a place that real communities form around, and as part of that community, you begin to build what totally feel like real friendships from the individuals that you engage with.

    In just about every example of me having met in real life those that I talk to on Twitter regularly, it hasn’t felt like “meeting” for the first time. Instead, as the title says, its meeting old friends for the first time.

    I know that some people from the outside, may well perceive this, as well – a little sad? You meet your geeky internet friends in real life? Saddo!

    But for me, it really doesn’t feel that way at all. The world is evolving – who would have thought hundreds of years ago that you would be able to pick up the phone and call someone on the other side of the world? Or that electronic devices would make it possible to exchange short messages to anyone and everyone?

    As human communications have evolved, so too have the ways that you engage with people – you don’t have to have met someone in “real life” to get to understand some of what makes that person tick.

    I, amongst probably many others, possibly share too much of myself on social networks. But the value that I get from them seems to be matched by what you put in. I really do not want to become a boring twitter account that completely lacks personality, and is just trying to be promotional. That’s just not me.

    I probably bore some people when I tweet about food and cooking – if that is the case, you can just choose not to follow me – I probably won’t be offended (though I do monitor who unfollows me on there, just for reference).

    When I’ve met some of those folks that I “know” best from Twitter, like Rhys Wynne, Kev Strong, Samuel Crocker and Paddy Moogan, it has after a few moments felt completely natural. There are many more that I haven’t mentioned, and I truly mean no slight to those folks, just these guys are almost as active as me on the old Twitter

    Of all the folks I met for the first time at this year’s Think Visibility, the best intro has to have been with Ingo Bousa – we’ve been talking on this platform for a few years, and he is a very funny guy. For the last few weeks, it’s been made clear to me that I needed to introduce myself by shouting “IS ME PETE” in a Borat style voice. I did this with amusing results (not least losing part of my voice repeating it throughout the night at loud volumes), as it caused Ingo to immediately drop his drink.

    For those that may consider it sad – I would just say, try it – you don’t know what you are missing. It is likely that it is easy for me working in the online marketing industry – I don’t know if it’s the same for other groups – but don’t rule it out just because you don’t know it!

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    November 27th, 2010ismepeteSocial Media

    It’s been ages since I posted a blog here. I’ve still been writing as much as possible for Vertical Leap’s search marketing blog, but spare time has been a cherished occasion over the last few months – there has been a hell of a lot going on lately.

    I’d had ideas of blogs to post here, but not actually started writing anything – there will be more to come in the future.

    But events yesterday have motivated me to get something moving, so I decided to focus on yesterdays events a bit for something to write about.

    Twitter is a place where communities form – I’m sure this applies to other social media sites, quite likely forums and blogs too, but I’ve seen evidence of a really strong community bond over the past 24 hours.

    You form groups on twitter around those with similar interests. I work in search marketing, so probably 3 in every 4 people I follow are based in the same field jobs wise.

    You share ideas on what things are working for you – work out things that have caused you problems to try and help others stop things before they become a problem. Lots of people in this industry, hopefully myself included, reach out to help people on a daily basis when it’s asked for.

    But that makes it sound rather dry and dusty, just about the work. It’s far more than that to be honest.

    I love trying to find out more about people. I’m a social animal. Those that know me in life, know that I talk a lot. Sometimes I don’t know when to shut up and that probably applies to twitter use at times too.

    But there are plenty of other people out there who are just as interested in the people behind the avatars too. So, you talk – about musical likes and dislikes, sports, films and tv, share funny videos and images and comics that you find here and there.

    You make jokes with people and share some fun times. When things frustrate you, there is a platform for you to vent that frustration. There have been times when I’ve needed to talk to someone to get things off my chest and twitter has supplied me the friends necessary to help me out.

    As a result of my twitter use, I’ve gone out and met some of these industry folks that I talk to, and it’s been great – I’ve turned online relationships into real friendships.

    One friend on twitter did more than most to get that ball rolling. I’m sad to have learned that he died on Thursday.

    RIP Jaamit – almost a year ago, with the first Brightonseo event, you convinced me to get in the train from Portsmouth to Brighton on a cold night, not knowing anyone that would be attending.

    You greeted me saying it felt like we’d been friends for years. We barely ha a chance to chat as you were so busy with the organising of the night and DJ’ing, but there were plenty of interesting folks and friends to be made that night.

    You were welcoming again the other times I saw you and for that I am grateful.

    Thank you for convincing me to do that.

    You will clearly be missed, as I am clearly not the only one who you had this influence on.

    Twitter yesterday was unlike anything I’d ever seen. So, so many people were so shocked and saddened by the situation. At times it was the quietest I have known my feed to be – and it has never been as polarised on just the one topic.

    Farewell my friend. And much love to all those that knew him far better than I ever had a chance to in real life. We’re all thinking of you.

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    July 24th, 2010ismepeteInternet Good Deeds, Social Media

    I’m afraid that this blog isn’t really going to answer this question, but I was intrigued whilst at BrightonSEO yesterday when I was asked “how do you get people to like you on Twitter?”

    I don’t consider myself to be a social media expert, although I do like being social – I like to talk to people, find out interesting or fun titbits of information about peoples lives, share useful knowledge between people for the betterment of all of them

    I also don’t think that I am exactly one of the most famous tweeters in the world, or all that widely known/liked just yet – whilst it is a terrible measure, I have only just gone past 700 twitter followers, and growth in that respect has been dwindling a little bit of late.

    What I do think I have that perhaps the person asking does not, is quite an engaged follower/following relationship. I tweet quite a lot, about all sorts of topics ranging from SEO, music, film, I crack jokes and stories with people and probably, most of all, I tweet about Food and Rum :)

    These are all things that make me, me! I love cooking, so I talk about it – quite a lot of people in my Twitterverse also seem to like food, and I think its somewhat expected of me now (I know my co-workers ask about it if I don’t tweet about food for a while).

    I like a lot of types of music too. I listen to some blues and jazz music from time to time, and some of my twitter friends do too – The same goes with some of the rock music I listen to, or the hip hop that I put on from time to time. Over the last year, Twitter has become the main method of me finding new music to listen to – through word of mouth recommendations from people that I have spoken to enough to realise common interests.

    I think that to get the most out of social relationships built up in these spheres you have to take the time to tweet – if you don’t have those conversations with people that draw you closer together, you limit the possibilities of how much influence them and how they can help you increase visibility of anything that you are trying to get visibility for.

    I follow a lot of people in and around the SEO industry, but at the end of the day, many of the relationships I have formed with people have begun in completely unrelated conversations – you can then always talk about more work related issues at another time. Start the conversation somewhere that you have some middle ground to meet at, and build from there.

    Sometimes it’s not going to work out perfectly – I know that some of my flippant tongue in cheek comments have been misinterpreted at times, and no doubt I will have ruffled some feathers along the way, but that was never my intention. I have cringed a couple of times reading back tweets, but thats just a part of the journey.

    Ultimately, I doubt that there are many cut and dried rules about getting people to like you on Twitter, especially if you have to “try” to be liked – but my main 2 rules for my activities on social media platforms are:

    1) Treat people the way you would like to be treated

    And

    2) Be yourself!

    I’ll finish this post with a tweet I received from Nichola Stott after finally meeting her at BrightonSEO yesterday:

    Stay You Pete

    I fully intend to :D

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    February 14th, 2010ismepeteSocial Media

    I use Twitter  and Facebook fairly regularly and with the latest arrival on the scene, Google Buzz, there are potentially even more services vying for my attention.

    I do however, use Twitter and Facebook very differently. The first social networking site that I used a lot was MySpace user, back when I worked at HMV. It proved to be a very good way of finding new music, finding when bands are touring near you, or even if a trek was needed to go further afield to see someone that you really liked. The problem was that it wasn’t a particularly good way to connect with my friends – I “met” up with some folks that I knew on there, but after I left HMV, and my urge to find new music all the time was somewhat reduced, I found MySpace a place that I spent less and less time.

    I then moved on to Facebook – and this was an area to really connect with people that you used to know back in school, have met and got on with in short bursts, and wanted to find out more, and to keep in close touch with closer friends that due to busy lifestyles, I don’t see as much as we would like in person.

    I like the basic premise of facebook, to send messages, to individual or groups  friends, be invited to events, see pictures of their latest events and get notified of birthdays (I have to admit to being fairly rubbish at remembering the exact dates of most of my friends birthdays). I do get a little annoyed with all the little game notifications from Farmville or some coffee shop game, but I have come to get rather blind to these most of the time.

    Almost a year ago, I decided to join Twitter, primarily because I thought I should be on it for work (seeing as I work in Search Engine Optimisation). For the first 6 months or so I didn’t really get it, I flitted in and out, I pushed some content that I had written for the Vertical Leap Search Marketing blog, but I didn’t really engage much with what was going on with the others on there.

    In the summer, I started to talk to other industry folks a bit more, engaging in conversations about what the latest news was, discussing items and issues that were the topic of the day, as well as sharing a bit of my personality and learning some more about these new people.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about the differences between Twitter and Facebook, and for me it is fairly simple. I use Facebook to get in and stay in touch with those people that I really know (or have in the past known) quite well – I’m interested in seeing picture of their weddings, new children (I still find it odd that some school friends have multiple kids these days) and birthday/Christmas celebrations.

    Twitter, I use to find more people that I would like to get to know – and I also feel much more of a member of a community as a result of frequent participation, with those that I follow, and those that follow me. Some people I am looking to learn things from, some people I hope I can teach a bit to, and the rest I hope we can have a bit of fun in between.

    Some people on Twitter, I’ve now spoken to enough that I consider them friends, even though for the most part I haven’t met many of them. People like supaswag, jaamit, Yoshimi_S, Fearless_Shultz & rhyswynne are all people that are entertaining, engaging and provide useful advice and assistance when needed.

    In the next year, I want to get to know more people on Twitter, as well as meet more people that I have already spoken to on here, starting with the next BrightonSEO event next Friday – as all the ones I have met so far have seemed really good folks to know.

    Should you want to, you can follow me at ismepete on Twitter – and I really know you quite well, find me at Facebook at www.facebook.com/ismepete – although I would prefer that only people that I do know add me on Facebook.

    Finally, on to Buzz.

    1) I don’t use GMail, so my exposure to this is what I have read online and seen in my Twitter stream.

    2) It has serious privacy concerns at the moment, with all sorts of stories arising about potential abuses of this service.

    3) I use 2 social networking sites already regularly, and I don’t think that at the moment I have room for a third. Especially one so intrinsically linked with what I do with my email, which I like have closed off to most people.

    4) Is this really going to be any more widely used in the long term than Google Wave? I actually quite like Google Wave, but have so few contacts on there to communicate with, that it’s just an empty place. If the masses were to take up Wave (and maybe that it was Google are ultimately trying to do with Buzz) then it might become more interesting, but that isn’t the case (for me) yet.

    I’m sure that in the next year or two, another social media website will come along to either replace or take their place with Facebook and Twitter in my social networking life. However, if it’s out there already, I don’t know about it yet, and if it is going to be Google Buzz, then there are going to have to be some changes first!