Social Media Training Sessions – at The University of South Wales

I recently delivered some training to staff at the University of South Wales who all seemed to have similar questions – what is social media? What is it good for? How can I use it? What should I use?

The sessions were really fun to run, with plenty of the kinds of searching questions you’d expect from academics, and a real desire to get to grips with the opportunities available to them. When defining social media, I like to say it refers to participation in the creation of online media – sites like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Youtube are all similar in that they encourage everyone to participate in the creation of media.

So how can you get involved in that? What does it mean for professionals? The basics of the session can be summarized by three key points:

  1. Play to your strengths – if you’re a wordsmith write a blog, if you’re a visual image type try Instagram or Tumblr, if you’re a curator try Pinterest. Don’t force yourself to comply with the most popular medium if you won’t enjoy it!
  2. Focus – don’t start a presence on everything and spread yourself thinly…put your efforts into building something brilliant in one place, then start reaching out to other places to tell people about it!
  3. Stay motivated – setting sensible benchmarks and targets, having access to meaningful stats and realising real-world objectives will help you remember why you’re doing this! If you’re not making money from it, make sure you have something else to motivate you!

Anyway…the sessions were a great way to kick-start people’s interest in what social media can offer. For academics I recommended the basic social media toolkit of a blog, Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter. A pretty ‘vanilla’ combo I’m sure you’ll agree, but you can get great results using those platforms.

You can download the (very simple) presentation here – University of South Wales social presentation

Quick redesign for the Mr Owen website

There’s something strangely satisfying about making a website all about diggers.

Rob loves his simple chunky site and we’re working on ensuring he gets found in Google for all the most important search terms. This was a simple case of knocking up a logo, chucking it on a suitable WordPress template and pulling some content together. Cheap and effective!
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New personal best for blog traffic

All content marketers hope that by adding share buttons, by writing topical unique content, and by consistently working a theme…they will eventually hit the social media jackpot and get massive traffic. When it comes, it can come big. This time it came from Reddit. I’ve seen this a couple of times working for my current employer, but today was a new record.
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We just threw a site together for Fire Island Cardiff

You can’t go wrong with a stripped-down, bone-white, dead-basic, done-in-a-day (too many hyphens?) website. Yes it needs a menu (Al, if you read this…mail me!) but otherwise it’s all there. Sweet and simple and oh so quick.
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New City Surf website

We set up the OG City Surf website a few years back, and while it was good at the time it dated fairly quickly and we’d customised stuff that meant updating was tricky.

We used WordPress and the Wp E-Commerce plugin, which at the time (2009) was the best thing out. Having surveyed the market, we decided WooCommerce from Woothemes was the new kid on the block, so we made the call to migrate all the content into that.
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Twitter bots can be done right – @AnOffside50p

When it comes to getting your message in people’s faces on Twitter, you have two options.

  1. Write awesome tweets and back them up with something of substance. This we will call the ‘quality’ model.
  2. An endless slog of targeting and sycophantic re-tweeting of influential accounts in order to get your message onto their radar. We will call this the ‘brown nose’ model.

Both have their flaws.

The first takes a lot of time and a lot of money. It can be worth it if you stand to gain anything from the process…but it’s a serious commitment.
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Kooki Two Bit t-shirt show, Buffalo Cardiff

This was a fun event and typical of the genuine efforts the Buffalo guys have been making to give art-geeks a place to mingle. Loads of Cardiff artists and designers submitted their designs for this show. Nearly all were hand crafted, drawn or painted directly onto tees. Really nice in this digital age to see who can wield a pen…and the pen is still mightier than the mouse in case you were wondering.
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More Nick the bastard video magic

Nick was asked to produce a promo edit for new Crayon pro Chris Jones. Nick has seamlessly graded footage from different locations to ensure a consistent colour scheme dominates the edit. Couple that with filming that keeps the subject centrally placed, a track that has just the right amount of drama to support the action and a signature Nick the Bastard bit of digital wizardry at the end and you’ve got yourself some hot footage.

Chris Jones Crayon Pro Clip from LovePaste on Vimeo.

Crayon skateboards professional series

Another collaboration with Pete Fowler, but this one is far from his typical style. These graphics feature vector style portraits with the classic Crayon logo in a speech bubble. You can see the thought that’s gone into these when you build the deck into a complete skateboard…the graphics really work well with the wheels in place. Clean bright colours make these a stand out on the shelf, and the matching stickers are pure class.
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If there is anything to be said for redundancy…

…there is the fact that it can inspire a certain degree of reflection and a concerted effort to reapply oneself to meaningful pursuits. If you’re Phil, those meaningful pursuits become part of Cardiff’s very fabric and help to make it a nicer place to live…as proven by his recent beardy Spillers Records t-shirt design and his greasy perv on a wall for Big Little City.

Spillers records

Greasy wall perv

Nick the Bastard

Nick is the producer of legendary Cardiff scene video ‘Hologram’, which was ably supported from a motion graphics perspective by Huw Caddy. These days he can do the whole shebang himself, thanks to a spell in Cardiff’s Atrium creative arts college and a long series of lonely evenings spent locked in his bedroom staring at his computer.

Nick’s style is low-key but not lo-fi…as the subtle inclusion of the Crayon logo proves in this awesome edit for Crayon.
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‘Join us’ and the Golden tickets

Pirate Man produced the Cardiff Skateboard Club movie, ‘Join us’. It’s a unique production, that features Beverley Callard exercise videos and 80s television nonsense spliced with skateboarding from Cardiff and Leeds. It received some rave reviews and every hand-made copy sold out, meaning CSC branded classic album covers now take pride of place in homes around the country.
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