Tweets n' Trousers

Jason Smith 2 September 2014

After the departure of Rhona, our previous Social Media & Blogging person, to New York (with promises of pockets filling with dreams and streets making her feel brand new), meant there was a vacancy here for her position. Having an existing interest in Social Media along with some personal changes/new directions in life requiring me to go part-time (more on that shortly), I sat down with MD Nick Gold to discuss options. Over a number meetings, which included caffeinated and/or heavily sugar loaded products, we decided that we should bring my experience in sales and business development across to this area.

I officially started my Social Media & Blogging role yesterday; although we’re still working on the job title. I like the American term: Vice President of... but we’re still hammering out the details on that front. That aside, for now, and wishing to make an immediate impact to my 2.5 days working week, I’ve already made some changes to our Twitter page. I wanted to make it more personal and let our personality come through by uploading a great new banner picture , along with highlighting that Tweets will be coming from yours truly. Whatever the platform, real or remote, it’s all about building those relationships and faces and names still rule in this area! I’ve also downloaded Hootsuite and got rather, and oddly, excited about some of the features on there. This role is also a lot more creative, allowing me to write this bog, while also thinking about how we can work with our speakers to create exciting content. Essentially, it’s building on Rhona’s hard work, developing content further and reaching out to new and existing clients online to build stronger connections with them. Think that’s our mission statement right there!

So what of this ‘personal change’, this new direction in my life, the other 2.5 days in the week? Well, first of all it’s vastly different to anything we do here at Speakers Corner for one, so I applaud Nick for being in solution-mode right from the off when I first broached him on this. Basically Ladies and Gentleman, I am going to study men’s bespoke tailoring at Newham College; a course which potentially runs up to 3 years. I’d sewn all my life, out of necessity really, to keep them 501’s going along with extending the lives of past favourite shirts (there’s been a few). Through repetition, I got better at it and a couple of years ago I went electric > add your Bob Dylan joke here < with a Janome 525s; a very nice and smooth piece of kit which, FYI, is being used on the Great British Sewing Bee, which I am of course an avid viewer. Personally, I’d wanted to get creative and work with my hands for a long time so along with a love of fine clothes, which more often than not are beyond my financial means, and keeping these idle extremities out of trouble, it made total sense. Please write in or Tweet if you can see any viable commercial connections between this and the speaker industry, other than emergency suit repairs that come up for any of our speakers/staff.

It’s actually Nick’s fault really. He gets in all these fantastic motivational speakers in to meet the team who’ve rowed oceans, climbed mountains, started successful business, won Olympic Golds or overcome some major disability to not only get on with their lives, but make the rest of us seem utterly pedestrian in the process! I’m thinking of the delightful Miles Hilton Barber . A shameless plug I know but the guy is a legend!

So the desire to get creative had been brewing for a while and would’ve, no doubt, made its entrance at some point. However, I remember where and when I was when I thought “You know, what the hell, just do it!”. I was here at the office when rower Roz Savage  came in to see us and shared her story with us. I paraphrase, and I’m sorry Roz if I get some of this wrong, but she had a the good job, lived in the big house and was very successful. Everything, to the outside world, looked great until one day, stood on an overly busy home counties railway station platform waiting for the train to Waterloo she had one of those moments, an epiphany, where she realised she had to do something else to what she was currently doing. Now Roz, after a bit of working stuff out, decided to row all the major oceans which she achieved and is truly amazing! I’ve decided however, for something a bit dryer and with fewer demands on my life. What is interesting though, in that moment - that decision - we are essentially the same person, with all the information generally at hand, but something happens in your mind: a Eureka moment, a flash or spark for some, or a process less breathless: such as something familiar but not fully known, finally appearing from behind a heavy set curtain revealing a new sunlit path not seen before.

So I feel very lucky the ways things out work out. I manage to stay with Speakers Corner and the wonderful team here (seriously, they’re pretty darn cool) and develop our social media presence further while also following my sartorial dream and developing my skills there. So I’d like to thank Nick, the  Greek God Athena (Inspiration/Creativity), Jack Dorsey (and pals) at Twitter, my mum (for showing me how to do buttons), Hootsuite, my partner Lucy for her million % support, The Great British Sewing Bee, friends, family and of course Roz for helping me get to this wonderful place.

So the future is all about the Tweets and Trousers. Two words, I’m sure, you thought you’d never see together today.

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