All posts in opinion

Google Plus, Suspension & Real Names | Open Letter To Google

googleplus suspension

Dear Google, I’m forever explaining my name so didn’t take it personally when on August 20th 2011 you gave me notice that my Google+ account will be suspended due to the breach of the real names policy.

I clicked the ‘challenge this decision’ button and hoped some human would click through to the bio link in my profile and confirm my pedigree (like when Facebook suspended me for the same reason but after a brief email exchange let me carry on my merry way).

A week or so later after no response and with a suspended account I went back in to qualify it further—you can see below how many links were given to back up my identity.:
google suspension sites

Over a month has passed and still nothing.

I’m really confused as the rules you’ve laid down state:

“The Names Policy requires that you use the name that you are commonly referred to in real life in your profile.”

So that’s DK, my name which:

Now I’ve resisted the urge to make up a name just to get back in there because that would be rude plus I thought there’s enough evidence illustrating the name I’m most commonly referred by.

One thing I need to add is how much I frickin’ love your range of online services:

  • I’ve probably steered tens of thousands of users to you guys through my MediaSnackers work: from CEOs, youth workers, large and small charities, brands, plus all my social media training participants sign up and use Blogger (even UNICEF and Gates Foundation—most of whom had never used it before)
  • I wrote a book and run a business using your Docs
  • Gmail rocks
  • in June I even visited your campus as a guest of one of your employees (who has raised my suspension internally but has had no response) and bought tshirts from your campus shop
  • plus, I’ve been utilising Reader as far back as I remember (luckily had a backup of my rss subscriptions and now using it through another account)

I’m a big fan.

So as a last ditch attempt I’m writing this open letter/blog post as there seems to be no humans in your system responding to my queries and qualifications about my name.

Please Google:

if I can’t use my name and you don’t want me to play then tell me why, then show me how to shut down my account and reinstate the use of the other Google services please*

* this would be so sad as would love to explore it further to see what uses my clients and employers could get out of it plus the teachers we work with could benefit from.

Looking forward to hearing from you and thanks in advance for your time.

Yours faithfully


UPDATE 24.11.11: The lack of response after explorations into contacting Google direct plus so many retweets of this story left me no other choice…

“You’ve successfully deleted Google+ and associated social content.”

UPDATE 27.11.11: seems like when you delete your account it actually remains (although very happy to have my Reader access back):

googleplus deleted account

Measuring, Metrics & Automation | Asking the Right Questions

measuring tape

How do you measure social media? What are the effective metrics you focus on? And, how do you automate the whole damn process?

Questions I’m currently wrestling with. They act like a fibonacci spiral, floating outwards, replicating into other questions. I like this.

Whilst most look to social media to provide answers, I search it for better questions.

For example, the number of Twitter followers will tell you how many people clicked the follow button not who they are, if they share your tweets / values, how much traffic you get from them, if they even like you, if you’re adding value to peoples lives etc (need to look at the back-end web stats for this or deeper still with funky little tools like Twtrland and Tweetstats).

Measuring social is a design challenge: what is left out is as important to what you leave in.

My approach is by starting with the end in mind, by exploring ‘what does success look like?’.

This is a one of those questions which never fails to connect a few synapses, and in terms of my role it’s the following (lifted directly from my job description):

  • CORE Education is recognised as key player in effective use of social media in business
  • CORE’s profile and reputation for understanding of use of effective social media is increased, especially through increased publication and dissemination activity
  • Social media activities throughout the organisation are embedded and sustainable throughout CORE
  • Improved (wider/deeper) brand awareness enables CORE to reach into existing/emerging market segments (especially into corporate market)

So that’s the result but what now needs to be crafted and applied is a change based approach. A layer of social media monitoring tools / platforms / metrics and some kind of reviewing structure to track impact.

So this is where I am. Opening up this line of questioning and hoping you the reader will offer guidance. Some ideas. Steerage and influence on how you are measuring it for your organisation, what metrics prove success and, how is it repeated.

Also keen to hear from people like Radian6 and Brandwatch or any other companies offering the above (especially for non-profits)…

“If you focus on results, you will never change. If you focus on change, you will get results.”
Jack Dixon

Image credit link

Working Yourself Out Of A Job (And Other Bold Public Statements)

Do Something That Matters

In two years time I will no longer be the Social Media Manager for CORE Education.

It’s not due to a limited budget or a time-specific contract but making a public statement like the one above focusses intent. Creates an end. A cut off point. A window to get things done.

Of course there’s danger in this. The idea that in two years time my approach would have succeeded, all the tasks will be completed and the organisation will be social media superheros, one and all (especially in this fluid space), is a bold forecast.

The reason for this strategy can be summed up in one word: sustainability.

Some of you will be old enough to remember working in places which had ‘typing pools’. A group of (usually) women whose soul task all day was to type unending letters and transcribe recordings of meetings from others.

With the advent of cheaper technology/software, the distribution of these new tools plus the burgeoning rise of professional development in the workplace, meant typing became a skill which quickly dissolved into expectation and one which now isn’t even questioned.

Social media managers are typists. A function which will soon become obsolete as the understanding of tools/platforms, adoption of practises and their execution become commonplace.

Any approach has to have a sustainable core and a comprehension that the measure of success is not how awesome my job is but how awesome I make other peoples jobs (through their elevated appreciation and use of social media).

This is what matters.

And I have two years to do it.

How much time have you given yourself?

Wisdom from Hugh MacLeod.

TEDxOverlake Reflections And Thoughts


The TEDxOverlake was everything a TEDx event should be : inspiring, challenging, personal, educational, awakening…

Here’s the experience summed up in a glorious Twitter technicolour :

#tedxol over – brain melted – soul ignited – heart overflowing… thanks to all involved!less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

I was invited to attend as a back-up speaker (never got on stage as everyone turned up), but the ones who left a permanent mark in my head / heart from the great lineup were :

  • Merilee Wilmore—how even without a traditional education you can have something to teach and share. Provided a great question around what is more important : what you know or who you are?;
  • August de los Reyes—stated that everything we design is alive. There were other gems plus the fantastic quote at the end of this blog post;
  • Christian Long—provocative and engaging. Reminding us all to ‘fall in love an go’ and how failure is a way forward;
  • Susan Scott—wicked thoughts along the lines of ‘leadership is not a title but a behaviour’ plus how radical optimism and transparency would transform organisations;
  • Krissy Moehl—honest, heartfelt, triumphant (in her achievements of ultra-trail running);
  • Alex Kummert—was fortunate enough to share a giggle with Alex over lunch, then he gets on stage and blows my sides off with stories of how comedy has taught him valuable and life-long lessons;
  • Dr. Gary R. Gruber —calling upon seven decades of learning Dr Gruber was a perfect final speaker, leaving us with a wonderful challenge to ‘pay attention to the sacredness of human beings’.

Many thanks again to Greg, Ryan and Megham for hosting / organising the fantastic event (plus the other wonderful backstage peeps).

“The future is a race between education and catastrophe.”
H.G. Wells

UPDATE: All videos are now live

Starting A New Job | Focus, Worries & Excitement

The video above shows what happens when 5,000 residents of Grand Rapids, Michigan collaborate on proving to the outside world their city is not dying.

It also sums up the outcome I will be trying to achieve with my my new job as Social Media Manager for CORE Ed in Christchurch, New Zealand : a collective adoption and support of a shared goal (in this case, social media use).

How I do this will form part of many future blog posts.

Now I haven’t had a *proper job in over seven years so there are a couple of things I’m worried about :

  1. having a boss—my new one is pretty awesome and we already have a great relationship but it’s still going to be odd to have a line of authority above me (luckily the culture at CORE Ed is very autonomous so I don’t think it will be too much of an issue);
  2. office politics—never been good at this and just not a fan. Luckily the New Zealand attitude is very straight and to the point so again thinking this will be another one to be aware of but not worry too much about;
  3. what to wear—seriously, what do I wear? There is no dress code so I might explore wearing the same set of clothes like my minimalist crush Nina Yau did. What do you suggest I wear for this?

Coupled with the concerns are things I’m really excited about :

  • inspiring change—this is why I get up in the morning;
  • being part of a community—one thing you miss when you work for yourself is that sense of place. Really looking forward to embracing this side of package;
  • theory to practice (on a large scale)—with over 100 employees internally plus all their partners and affiliates etc this will be a big challenge. I can’t wait!

Most importantly I can’t wait to be creative and explore building on the skills already in house to fashion and progress the organisations goals.

*Haven’t had a proper job as been running my own businesses (Phatgnat and MediaSnackers).

My Stand-Up Desk

stand up desk

Inspired by other standup desks seen on the interwebs. Simply took my unused computer table and shoved an old IKEA self-assembled-free-standing-storage-type-shelves underneath. Low and behold a perfect height.

Looking forward to the next few days trying it out.

Loving this as well:

2011 Reflections


Instead of listing things to focus on like previous years (I’ve already done this over on the to-dopage anyway), time to embrace the reason we’re here :

“Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.”
James Thurber

It doesn’t matter that it’s a new year or that we’ve achieved / failed things in the past one, what is of importance is:

This moment.
So, be happy.

Related posts : 2010 & 2009

Zen And The Art Of Punching


Punching is an art.

A physical expression of control and movement. An inward exploration of channeled aggression.

Here’s the three biggest things I’ve learned from strapping my hands in the past couple of years:

  • reduce the form, increase the function : once you have the basic biomechanics of a punch down the aim is to concentrate the movement to its barest elements whilst intensifying the impact;
  • learn, unlearn, relearn : it’s essential to adopt the constant ‘amateur state of mind’, relearning everything you know again and again as you deconstruct your actions and hone new patterns of motion;
  • cultivate balance : a left jab starts with a solid right heel, a right cross begins with the pivoting left foot, sounds counter-intuitive, but all part of the karmic order of punching.

If you’re a puncher what have you learned?

Image credit and related post: Paradox Punch

iPad Keynote Remote : A Proposal : Part 1

ipad keynote app

So here’s the pitch:

“I will put up £500 of my own money (and invite others to donate also) in an attempt to find someone to develop a bluetooth app/clicker/remote for specific use with the iPad and Keynote app.”

I’m after two things:

  • *iPhone / iPad whizz-kid / developers who fancy a challenge, PLUS
  • other speakers who also have this issue and want to pool some money together to make this a more attractive proposition to be made

*By the way, it doesn’t have to be an iPhone app, just something that works as a clicker with iPad / Keynote over bluetooth AND the solution needs to be done without jailbreaking any device. Why? Well, much of my living is made through speaking at conferences and other events. My weapons of choice :

  • MacBook Pro / Keynote—to make my presentations (and me) look slick
  • Motorola SLVR / Salling Clicker—used in combination to provide a bluetooth clicker and connection because:
    • the infra-red clicker you get with the Mac has insufficient range for someone like me who wanders the stage when talking (as I don’t do lecterns or scripts) plus anyone in the audience could use theirs to forward my slides
    • sometimes the audio / video setup is at the side or back of the stage / venue and therefore the bluetooth connection between the Mac and SLVR gives a range / stability the infra-red could never offer

During my recent stateside trip I bought an iPad (it is glorious btw) but it has one HUGE flaw, its lack of capacity for using any type of remote for the Keynote app (and it’s not just me asking for this pretty obvious piece of functionality). If the missing piece could be found then speakers all over the world could rock up with this fantastic piece of kit and plug and play.

I’ve already laid out the case for the use of bluetooth and not just the existing wifi connection (especially as some venues I speak at don’t have wifi) and I know bluetooth pairing can be achieved between iPhone and iPad as the 2Screens iPhone app plus the 2Screens iPad app demonstrates this.Plus Apple also allows bluetooth pairing with it’s wireless keyboard—maybe some clever peeps could ‘hitch a ride’ using this same ‘profile’?

There’s also a call (in other discussions online) for the iPad screen to support speakers notes, this is neither a priority or concern of mine as don’t use a script, therefore, not something which is needed under this brief.

If you’re interested in either tackling this problem or pledging some money towards finding a solution then leave a comment.