Asking the Candidates: If elected will you continue to use Facebook/Twitter

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After thinking about all the tweets and facebooking from the Irish Presidential Candidates, I decided to ask them if they would contine use Twitter/Facebook if they were elected President of the Republic of Ireland.

I asked the question on Twitter initially, but then posted it also on the candidates Facebook to give them all a fair chance of responding.

These are the respons in the order I have recieved them and on what medium they responded on.

Mary Davis – Facebook

Hi Stephen, when I am elected I will definitely ensure that social media is a key part of my Áras an Uachtarán communications.

Sean GallagherFacebook

Certainly Stephen. I was using both Facebook and Twitter well before I announced my intention to run for the Presidency. Social media and new technologies mean that I can reach people and hear what you, the people of Ireland are saying more clearly than ever before. Best wishes, Seán

Michael D HigginsTwitter

@spiller2 if elected I hope to continue using social media Stephen #aras11

Martin McGuinnessTwitter

@spiller2 I do indeed Stephen

UPDATE 20:25

Dana Rosemary Scallon Twitter

@spiller2 I’m still learning, but I will keep it up while I’m in office. It’s a great way to connect with the people. #aras11 #dana

Senator David Norris (Team) – Facebook

Hi Stephen, I have asked your question and can confirmed a David Norris Presidency would certainly be using Social Media to make the Office of President even more accessible while continuing on the fantastic dialogue David Norris has enjoyed throughout his campaign. Admin (Ronan)

I have yet to recieve a response from Gay Mitchell. When I do I will update this post.

Anna Lindh Exchange Forum

This week the Anna Lindh Exchange will take place in Tunis, Tunisia between the 23rd and 26th June. This will be a region-wide meeting of civil society players acting for democracy and freedoms with an intercultural perspective.

Gathering between 150 and 200 participants from all over the Euro-Med region who work in the fields of Artistic creation, Media and Social Networks, Civil society development and Resources for Citizenship, the event will be a great opportunity for participants to learn from each other, exchange experiences, best practices and project ideas as well as to build partnerships.

I shall be attending the Exchange and I will be part of the team covering the event through twitter, facebook and blogs. As part of that I have posted a blog post on the conference up on the official blog just on the background!

Do check out the website tunisforum.org for all the ways to follow the Forum. On twitter follow the #tunisforum tag! Or follow the list I created on twitter which will be updated over the course of the exchange. On Facebook like the Anna Lindh Foundation Page and the Believe in Dialogue Page to get updates there! There will be some live coverage and videos on the website so do keep an eye on it!

Im really looking forward to it now!

The Flower of Identity

Pink Flower, Oxalis Weed Macro
Image by cobalt123 via Flickr

In Luxembourg as part of the training with the Anna Lindh Foundation we had to write a list of things that we think identify us. One suggestion was to draw a flower and on each petal write one thing. I of course am useless at drawing so decided to write a list.

So how do I see myself?

The first things that came to my mind was European, the next was Irish and after that Gay came into my mind. Then the fact that I was Male reared its head. After that I was stumped.

Now I didnt want to seem superficial so I tried really hard to come up with more, so Political came to mind. Then Adventerous and Outgoing popped up. Religous also came to mind as did Blogger After that it was tough going.

Even now two weeks after the training I find it hard to come up with more. Ones that do are Stubborn, Caring, and Smart.

How to others see me?

I decided to see how others saw me, so I asked on twitter, facebook and MSN about people saw me. I got the following back:

  • Friendly
  • Caring
  • Up Beat
  • Outgoing
  • Helpful
  • Headstrong
  • Opinionated
  • Political
  • Intelligent
  • Someone who stands up for what they Believe in
  • A good friend
  • Sexy (I am not making it up!!)
  • Nice Guy
  • Listener
  • Values debate and diversity
  • Principled
  • Respectful
  • Smart
  • Gay

Why do this?

After asking a friend, a conversation ensued about why I was doing this and was their a difference in how I saw myself and how others saw me. To me the big difference was no one mentioned nationality. Which was strange cause if was the first thing I thought of when asked the question about myself as it forms part of who I am and therefore how I act. That was the huge difference.

In Luxembourg after we wrote this out we all went to another room and sat on the floor. One of the trainers Xavi called out different categories about how we saw ourselves and for one of them I was one of two people standing. That category was “Sexual Orientation”. To me started off the questioning that led to this blog post, am I placing too much emphasis on it. The fact that someone else mentioned it, kind of puts my mind at rest.

At the same time I was overwhelmed at the response given to me. I simplfied where I could what my friends said down to one word where possible. It is strange when your friends can come up with more ways of describing you then you can.

But thats Identity thats Personality!

One thing I noticed even while doing this was how fluid Identity and Personality are. To me they are not mutually exclusive. This excercise proves that in most ways except in the area of nationality which I have already dealt with.

So is nationality what actual divides us from stangers, as we don’t see it as part our friends?

Do try this yourself and see personally how you describe yourself, draw it as a flower or a list. It will surprise you.

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Vote for John

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBaseI had a post last month asking you to nominate @mcawilliams for a Shorty Award, well he is in the final for the personal category and needs your votes!

The format is the same. Tweet the following:

@shortyawards I vote for @mcawilliams in the Shorty Awards Finals for #personal because…he’s very personal

Also there is another Irish twitterer up for an award, @dongenland who is up for a green award. So while you are at it, tweet:

@shortyawards I vote for @doneganland in the Shorty Awards Finals for #green because…he’s green

I am not alone is asking you to do this, Darragh Doyle, Joe Scanlon and adland ireland along with many others ask you to do the same! So please do! Lets put Ireland on the twitter map! Get Voting

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Some tips for new bloggers

Lego Blogger PictureImage by minifig via FlickrSo I’ve been blogging now for over three years and have built up a bit of knowledge on whats makes a good blog. Of course, I don’t consider this blog any way excellent as there are loads out there which are better, but lately I have gotten the blogging bug again and I think its only right that I share some tips on how to increase page views and therefore visitors.

1. Get Listed
Get your blog listed on blog directories and blog aggregates. Just to show in last year I have gotten 1,092 hits from Irishblogs.ie. That is about one sixth of my total refereed page views in the last year. Corkblogs.com is also in the top ten but unfortunately you can’t add new blogs at the moment. There are lots of directories and aggregates out there so have a look around!

2. Feed you blog
By this I mean feed your blog into other websites. For example I have a twitter bot for this blog @stevemyopinion which allows people on twitter to see when you have posted something. Another idea is to feed your blog into facebook where it will appears as notes. This shows you friends who might not be aware that you have a blog the stuff you are writing about and it might get them onto your site to read more. Friendfeed is also handy for amalgamating all your feeds twitter, blogs etc into one handy place.

3. Say something controversial!
This is a tricky one, but it does work. If you say something controversial and it gets picked up it can take off. But be prepared to back up your statements. I noticed this through my support for McCain/Palin ticket and my opposition to Gay Marriage (though I’m Gay!). NOTE: only say something controversial if it is true!

4. Link!
Link, Link, Link. This is important. i notice a lot of visitors to my site are coming from back links either through their WP-admin page or through the link created on blogger. This sometimes leads to the other person linking you. If someone links you it is polite to link back, especially if you expect other to do the same!

5. Comment
This is something I am useless at, commenting on other blogs. Normally if I like a post I will “share it” on Google reader but if you have the time do this! It create rappor between you and the other blogger and therefore increases likelihood of them linking and each comment creates a link in its own right. Also remember to respond to comments on you posts!

6. Blog about what you want
Lots of people make the simple mistake of button-holing their blog to one specific subject. I did at the start at the start to an extent that I only blogged about news and politics, lately I have diversified and think it is better for me. Specialist blogs are great, if you have a lot to say on one subject stick to it, but if you can for only a short time allow some diversity!

7. Enter Competitions
Put yourself out there no matter how you feel about your own writing. When I was long listed for a blog award back in 2007, I was shocked. When I entered the EU Blogging competition I was not expecting to be picked. So put yourself out there!

8. Guestblog
If a major blog is giving an opportunity to Guest Blog forward take the chance! this worked for me when I emailed Gaypatriot.net earlier this year and they reproduced it! Again just take the chance and put your thinking cap on.

9. Go to tech events
When you have established a routine start going to tech meetups such as open coffee and bar camp and things like that. I was daunted the first time going to OpenCoffee Club as a blogger and not being in the tech industry but I was able to hold my own with my views on software and the like. These days most tech companies (well the ones that go to Cork OpenCoffee Club) nearly all have blogs so they appreciate the views of a blogger.

10. Mis-spell!
Strangely enough my bad spelling leads to lots of hits from Google from other people who can’t spell! This leads to me looking a Google analytics going that is spelt right following the link to find that I couldn’t spell in the first place. So if you make a mistake, don’t be in too much of a rush to change it!

Right that’s ten tips from me that hopefully someone will find useful! Feel free to add your own tips in the comments and I’ll add them to the main post!

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