Moving to WordPress

WordPress was a thing, ten years ago when I started my blog. But I chose Tumblr because it was easy and I liked the built-in community that came with it, a context for my content as I posted it.

I also was more prone to post just a photo, or to share some content I liked – song, video, site or someone else’s media. In more recent times though, I’ve preferred to post my own content and most of it written. I’ve disengaged with the community there as my dashboard became too busy to keep up with – in a very Twitter-like fashion.

Since the change in my content posting habits, WordPress became the more obvious platform for my blog, but I just didn’t want to go through the motions of moving. I also felt quite loyal to Tumblr through “thick and thin” shall we say, as it’s been a tumultuous time for the site since their acquisition.

I made friends through Tumblr, we had an Auckland meet-up (which arguably was just a bunch of us web-industry folk plus a few), I discovered some really great creators and bought their stuff. People even read my stuff, and talked to me about it!

Clearly, my content isn’t porn. But Tumblr’s announcement yesterday that they plan to become a “better, more positive Tumblr” basically through censorship just doesn’t ring true for me. This article from EFF, “Dear Tumblr: Banning “Adult Content” Won’t Make Your Site Better But It Will Harm Sex-Positive Communities” does an excellent job of explaining why.

Even though I no longer engage with the community on Tumblr anyway, and my own content won’t be affected, I’m particularly concerned by the erasure of positive content and particularly of Queer content. It’s early days for the policy and it’s algorithm, but the fact that rainbow content is flagged at all is sufficient to have made me uncomfortable enough to want to stand by my values and move house.

So things in my new home are ugly.

I’ve gone with hosted WordPress, torn some hair out over DNS reconfiguration, and my content import is inelegant AF (photos are within body content as opposed to “main image” content, so previews look pants, and many posts don’t have titles).

But I believe in a free, open, representative internet and a few hours of work to migrate away from a platform that doesn’t share these values is worth it.

So my domain is the same, and I’ll be posting henceforth into the void at RIP Tumblr.

Image of this blog's homepage while it lived on the tumblr platform.
Screenshot before the move.

Reflections on “the Tweet that took 2 months”

After reading my post about Social Media Douchebags, my friend Red sent me an article from Business Insider Australia titled “We Got A Look Inside The 45-Day Planning Process That Goes Into Creating A Single Corporate Tweet”. A lengthy title for a lengthy post.

In essence, the post describes how the copy for a single tweet is drafted, pitched, the media (image) designed, and the thorough approval process that accompanies the tweet before it’s born as a published piece of content.

As Business Insider Australia presented it, “Here’s the tweet that took two months:”

Now I don’t think it’s very kind on Huge, the agency who produced this lil’ labour of love, to present it quite so disparagingly.

The average internet-savvy, social media invested reader would probably roll their eyes at the content, “45 days?! For that?!”. Indeed, a quick search shows me the internet is full on hating on the tweet that took two months.

So what’s “wrong” with it? Why might the content be what it is? Let’s have a guess, but first let it be known that I totally get where Huge is coming from and I don’t roll my eyes at this tweet or the fact it took two months’ gestation.

  • “Sharing a Camembert with friends?” The age old social media engagement plea. Ask a question.
  • (How generous!)” a wee compliment for the reader.
  • Get the best flavor by serving at room temperature” the crux of the tweet, showing cheese expertise and sharing useful information. 
  • #artofcheese” hashtag, seems to accompany every “cheesy” tweet from President Cheese. (Had to use the pun, sorry)
  • And a pretty image. Good photo, product name, bright lighting, “aspirational” – honeycomb, marble serving plate… Posted through the Twitter platform itself so that users of Twitter’s own clients (channels for accessing Twitter, like the Twitter app or website) will see the image and are more likely to read the tweet. Common marketing ploy on social platforms – images tend to generate more engagement.

The pessimistic view:

  • Sounds like marketing speak, the tone is corny
  • Doesn’t actually invite any interaction (I’m not going to reply “yes, I am sharing camembert with friends!”
  • Nothing “in it for me”, at best, I learned that camembert is best at room temperature. 

So how was this tweet created? And why did it take 45 days?

For a brand represented by an agency, the agency has a lot of work to do. The tweet is a small part of a much bigger job to build the brand’s following and promote key characteristics of the brand, products, and generally build the image desired by the client.

The team who published this tweet know.

They know 45 days is a long time. They could probably push out far more engaging posts in seconds and generate some great conversation and gain more followers. They know it sounds a little cheesy. There would have been debate over every piece I bulleted out above.

For a tweet or any piece of marketing collateral in a campaign, it has to be drafted, pitched, refined, approved. The optimum time for publishing needs to be weighed based on when the audience is most active or responsive, and how the content fits within the overall content calendar of the brand. A lot of other work would have been done in those 45 days! At least a week’s worth of other tweets no doubt were written at the same time. Associated content for other platforms too. It’s 45 days turnaround not 45 days of solid work.

What our angsty, judgemental community often forget is that in business land there is a process.

Managers have to approve, the client has to approve. All these approvals avoid any major slip ups – like the wrong type of cheese mentioned or pictured, or the post going out prematurely.

It’s a new account – March 22nd was their first tweet. The client probably isn’t used to having their brand in this space and is likely a little cautious, needing approval and carefully picking over content – finding their feet on Twitter.

When a misstep can result in such a backfire especially online, can you blame the caution?

Kudos to Huge, from what I’ve read, their team are doing a good job in a harshly judged space, unfortunately their work was presented in a way that invited that famous internet vitriol.

It pays to think about what goes on behind the scenes before hefting a pitchfork.

Social Media Douchebag

A few years ago I sat in on a social media presentation from a well known (in Auckland/NZ) Social Media Expert.

This presenter was invited to review our brands (7 commercial radio stations), make recommendations and give examples for furthering these brands online (followers, engagement, driving traffic to websites).

What we sat through was more “this is Facebook, you can make a page” – as a media company well beyond that, for all of the presenter’s popularity (and many Twitter followers), it was underwhelming. Lacking all preparation and insight.

This is one of the main reasons I cringe when I hear about people who are “great at social media”, “social media gurus”. Being an “emerging” medium, I see too often fear, confusion, intimidation around using social media.

Nerds like me have had Facebook and Twitter accounts since 2006, that’s nearly ten years, I think we can drop the fear of the new.

So what does it take to be really great at helping businesses “further their brand”?

Understanding – the company, it’s resources, people’s skill levels and willingness to participate, the audience, the goals and a variety of tools.

Longevity – educating advocates within the business, scaling down or up to suit available resources of time, money and skill. A plan that stretches beyond a single campaign.

Creativity – using tools in new ways, relevant to the brand and it’s audience.

Sound familiar? Notice I said “further their brand”? This isn’t limited to social media.

Social Media: Websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.


Social media are platforms that use the internet to allow people to interact and connect with each other one to one, or one to many. But they are just another channel for brands to get messages to their audience – like a website, magazine ad, radio ad, billboard. It’s communication, just like any other form of advertising or marketing.

What causes nervousness is the lack of understanding of the tools themselves. Social Media Douchebags know the tools well enough to intimidate those who don’t into believing that because they have thousands of Twitter followers they must be able to craft magic.

Why cringe about being called a “Social Media Expert”? It’s limiting. There is no secret sauce. Marketers should be stepping up, engaging their brains and filling this space, creating throwaway accounts and testing how to use the platform they are interested in, and recognising social media as just another tool.

Every marketer should be a social media expert. Add it to the tool box along with tv spots, radio air time, full page spreads, billboards, and do what you do best – focus on your message, your content, your audience.

The anti-social social networker

Invites to events on Facebook are a pain. About 2% are events I actually have any interest in attending. The other 98% are marketing or promo fluff which clog my notification centre and send annoying push notifications.

Worse, some aren’t an event at all but a plea to “vote for me!” or “do you like sausages?!”. I’d hate for my friends to know the truth, that I don’t care about their “event” – I care enough to spare them a “declined” invitation. But how to stop the alert hose?

Two current Facebook features help to flush out these irritations:

1. “Turn Off” event notifications.

Click your notification globe in the site header, roll over the event alert and click the little blue “x” which shows in the right top corner of the notification. A message asks “Turn off notifications for [event name]?” and BAM, gone.

2. Remove Invites

Visit your events page, along the top will sit your outstanding invitations (which you have not yet accepted or declined or “maybe’d”). Roll over an unwanted invitation and, you got it, hit the x. The invite will be subtly removed, your friend will not know unless they check for you specifically, and you will get no further notifications from the event itself.

Of course, if your offending friend is offensive enough, they may just post event spam to your actual timeline or elsewhere in your way on Facebook. Friends don’t spam friends, there is an “unfriend” button!