Back in July 08, I met a guy recommended as “someone you need to know if you want to learn anything about blogging and on-line social media”.
So, I set up an initial meeting with him, and listened to this chap throw out all these terms, references, links, buzz-words and names of “stuff” that I’d never heard of before. The one-way conversation may as well have been in Japanese for all I understood.
After about 10 minutes of me saying “aha, yes, okay” and lots of general head nodding in an falsely-understanding kind of way, I halt the conversation, saying that my head was already cooked with information, and was there anywhere that this sort of info was available from one source.
The answer that came back was “the Internet”. Well, ask a really stupid question, and get the most blatantly obvious answer back- I felt a complete bumbling idiot, and suddenly realised that I’d got into a conversation I had absolutely no knowledge of the subject matter.
The same applies today almost, but I’ve read a lot, met a lot of knowledgeable and friendly people along the way, learned from their tips, read, researched, read some more, and continue to do so, making mistakes along the way as are being documented in this blog.
The guy I met said that before I even start to think about how the technical widgets, plug-ins, designs, programmes etc all work, he’d lend me a book about the psychology and methodology and history behind not just how, but more importantly WHY this social media “stuff” works, True to his word, the very next day, the book gets hand delivered by him to me and I read it over about a 3 week period.
The book was called “Here Comes Everybody” written by Clay Shirky. Without a shadow of doubt, it was this book that started me on the path I’m now following. Some very wise words in there, and lots to think about- but like me, if you’re new to this blogging thing, read the book first before you even touch WordPress or similar.
Clay Shirky is very highly regarded in Internet-type circles- he knows a great deal, has some good ideas and speaks from experience. In May, he gave a short presentation at one of the TED conferences about the power of Twitter and New Media news dissemination, getting a network working, but I’ll move on to that as soon as I can:
Lastly, I’d like to say either a big sincere Thank You to Pete Ashton, the guy that gave me a book to read and spoke to me in a foreign language way back in July last year. Pete does some damn fine work around the web & Birmingham in particular. Go check him out if you ever get chance- take part in one of the Social Media Cafe’s – you’ll find he drinks tea, no sugar. But read the book first!