James Mayes

Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

Moving to a self-hosted blog?

In Blogging, Personal Development, Social Media on November 6, 2012 at 3:18 pm

So this almost happened as a tweet – but then I figured I had more than 140 characters of questions, and likely as not, some of you have similarly lengthy opinions – so I’m putting it here instead!

Been running this site since February 2010. It was a quick launch to begin with, just a standard theme on a WordPress-hosted account. It’s served me well enough and while it’s due a refresh on theme, I’ve loved the service provision from WordPress.  More though, I’m seeing plug-ins I’d like to use to evolve what I do with the site.  I’d like to experiment more… and I think self-hosted is the next step.

First up… for those who’ve made this transition before, what’re the scary parts? What screwed you over? Do the benefits outweigh things like maintenance and cost overheads?

Second… any recommendations on hosting? Not up for running my own box, so I’ll be purchasing a service somewhere – and as with most things, peer recommendation will count heavily!

All contributions gratefully received!


Blog: When not to blog is just as important

In Blogging, Social Media, Social Recruiting on February 6, 2012 at 7:56 am

when to shut upI see regular posts on why blogging is good, how to get best results, why you should blog often and so on. Thought it might be fun to run through some opposing thoughts I have.

Consider it the art of knowing when to shut up (and yes, I know, I’m aware of the irony of such a post coming from me!).

If it’s PURELY self-promotion/sales

That’s not to say you can’t talk about what your firm does though. I follow a number of blogs from tech companies where the blog is a product-focussed update – what got fixed, what’s being worked on, what ideas they’re testing. I love that – but I don’t want to see “buy my stuff, it’s awesome because…”

If you can’t say it nicely…

Don’t say it at all. Sometimes criticism is valid. Sometimes a blog post is a great way to give feedback. Just remember that what you post will most likely stay out there forever, with your name attached. You want to work with that company or person in five years’ time? Chances are, they’ll have no problem with constructive, well-formed criticism, but may view a hatchet job somewhat differently.

If you don’t care, don’t blog

I hear many people talk about the need to blog regularly, to maintain a link with your readers, meet their expectations. Balls, in my humble opinion. I don’t want to read the stuff you felt you had to write in order to meet your own self-imposed production schedule. I want to read the stuff you care about. Something you believe in, something you think is game-changing, something you’re passionate about, a service you think is worth shouting about. I know you want the same too. I know this because the off-the-cuff posts about something that’s really got me riled or excited? They’re the ones that fly.

Take care when you’re under the influence!

I know many who blog later in the evening, lacking the time during the working day. I’ve been known to write whilst enjoying a quiet glass of wine or two. As with point two though, remember this stuff could stay out there and haunt you. Weigh up whether that post needs to go live right now… or whether it should wait till morning for a quick re-read.

Finally, a caveat and a question. First, I reserve the right to completely ignore my own advice at any time! Second, what did I miss?


Blog: A new experience on the horizon: #srconf Paris!

In Blogging, Community, Conference, Personal Development, Recruitment, Social Media, Social Recruiting on November 24, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Been a busy few months at the BNT Tower – some major new developments in the pipe, combining with some excellent client feedback (special thanks Unilever!) and all the while conference season has been in full flow. Coming to the end of it now though and really looking forward to wrapping up with the Social Recruiting Conference in Paris.

Social Recruiting Conference ParisRun by Vic and Alan, #srconf London has established itself on the calendar with two first class events in recent times. Now though, they’re spreading their wings… and Paris is calling.  Having recently attended HR Tech Europe, I was struck by the vast market variance in different countries around Europe.  While that event took the wider continental viewpoint and covered HR technology generally, this event will really hone in on social platforms in use in France.

As with London events, there’s a strong speaker line-up, heavy on practitioners who actually deliver operationally – real experience, lessons good and bad, I always find great take-aways from these kind of sessions.  In this case particularly though, it’s the difference between the UK & French markets which I think will provide the most learning points.

Sure, Facebook is pretty ubiquitous now – but I’m intrigued to learn more about Viadeo and how it differs from LinkedIn – not so much in functionality, but in actual usage. I’m keen to learn more about the “creepy line” – everyone has a point at which they feel social media becomes intrusive – but to what extent does that differ from country to country?

I’ll live-tweet the event as best I can (follow me here) – and look forward to blogging my highlights when we’re done!

Blog: Should you unfriend / unfollow / unlink me?

In Blogging, Community, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Social Media, Twitter on November 15, 2011 at 5:29 pm

I’m looking for an app.  Usually, I find what I’m looking for pretty quickly. On occasion, I’ve hacked together a mix of things to suit the purpose. On this occasion though, I’m drawing a blank.  This all goes back a few months to a Twitter debate with my old friend Merv.  I posted on the blog and Mervyn pointed out that as he was connected to me on numerous platforms, he was rather inundated with notifications.

It’s an accurate observation, as any new post here will go to LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook immediately. It’ll end up other places too, in due course. I do that intentionally because I want a variety of feedback and because my presence (and thus network) on each of those platforms differs.  Still, Merv struck a chord.  Am I inadvertently spamming people who’ve chosen to connect with me?

First pass on the analytics tells me my post-to-many plan isn’t all bad.  I have just under 2.5k followers on Twitter, just over 2.5k connections on LinkedIn, under 400 friends on Facebook.  The Facebook connections are predominantly outside the tech and recruitment industries – so the feedback I get from those readers is valuable to me. It’s fresh, untainted by constantly moving in the same sphere I live and breathe.

So what about the LinkedIn/Twitter audience?  Last time I checked (I can’t now, the Tweets app in LinkedIn appears a bit screwy!) – roughly 25% of my LinkedIn connections were also on Twitter.  I doubt all of them follow me, but let’s be generous and say they all do. That still leaves 75% of 2800 connections not picking up my blog via Twitter – and therefore justifies posting to both.

So the app I need then?  I need something to help me identify if I’m connected to the same person across multiple platforms. But when I get that information, what then?  I don’t want to spam you, but neither do I want to sever a connection without explanation and have to rectify that situation.  So I also want that app to be able to alert these individuals to the multiple connection points and ask what THEY think. Do they feel spammed? Would they rather disconnect in a few places?

How to close off? Well, as I said to begin with, I don’t have that app right now. But I do have a voice.  I’ve said before I use this blog to test out thoughts, gain feedback – here’s your chance! This is an open invitation to unfriend, unfollow or unlink me if you feel you get the same stuff in too many places from me.  Ideally, I’d do this more carefully by identifying those cross-platform connections and talking directly – but since I lack the tech to do this, I figure we just go open season on it!

I’ve noted connection numbers on those three platforms – I’ll report back any significant changes next week!

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