Today sees the launch of my latest project: a new social media blog and community called The Social Conversation.
The Social Conversation scratches an itch that has been digging away at me for a couple of years; a need to do something new that stretches me. It brings my day job as a social media manager together with my love of blogging. The Social Conversation isn’t designed to be a news or a tips-and-techniques site. It’s meant as a place where contributors can come together and share their experiences as users in a way that is (hopefully) relatable to others and encourages the wider community to join the conversation.
In the beginning …
To understand my journey to this point, I need to start at the beginning.
I started blogging way back in 2007. This was the year in which the first iPhone launched, Madeleine McCann disappeared and The Big Bang Theory debuted on TV.
It was a long time ago in digital terms. YouTube was only two years old; Instagram wouldn’t appear for another three years.
One of the reasons I’m still going 13 years later is that blogging has always been a passion rather than a job for me. That passion has taken me in many different and unexpected directions. I’ve blogged about sports, TV and family. Sung live in front of 500 people at a conference. Contributed to and ultimately run my own podcasts. Occasional radio appearances. And it also led me directly to both writing freelance for Metro (as a TV reviewer) and switching to a career in social media.
It also introduced me to my second family when I set up the VeloVoices blog.
VeloVoices was born at the beginning of 2012 out of my love of pro cycling. It started as a collaboration between four (later seven) cycling fans, spread across three countries. The aim behind the blog was to provide coverage of the sport from the perspective of real fans as opposed to professional journalists. ‘Pro cycling for fans, by fans’ became our tagline; it was what set us apart.
Eight years later, VeloVoices is still going strong, although without me at the helm for the past four. I’ve missed the camaraderie and the challenge of running such a dispersed and varied editorial team. And while I moved on to other projects – most notably the Meet the Parents podcast – I’ve missed the magic that came from that team.
For users, by users
Perhaps oddly, COVID-19 provided the spark I needed to create The Social Conversation. In my current job, I work almost entirely in virtual teams – a lot like VeloVoices – and with the pandemic forcing everyone to work remotely, this has only emphasised this working model.
It’s reminded me how much I enjoy working like this, and it got me thinking. My love of social media is similar to my love of cycling. Why not replicate the VeloVoices model and create a site and a community that provides a place for ‘social media for users, by users’?
We don’t aim to be quickest with the news. We don’t try to offer the greatest depth of expertise and insight. Instead, what we bring to the party is a range of views and experiences – different skills and expertise, different backgrounds, everything.
Our unique selling point is that we are diverse and inclusive. That’s something else that has been on my mind recently with the Black Lives Matter protests and ongoing issues with minority representation in the influencer industry. We are a team of bloggers and social media professionals. We represent agencies, brands and influencers. Some of us are working parents; others stay-at-home mums and dads. We are from different ethnic backgrounds, and from the LGBTQ+ community.
But the truth is we have more commonalities than differences. We work with and talk about social media every day, sometimes in a professional capacity but more often as users. And it is those experiences that we want to share.
Social media is now virtually universal in developed economies. Facebook has 2.6 billion monthly active users. That’s about the same number of people as China and India (the two most populous nations on Earth) combined.
Social media is everywhere. It brings us the latest news. It allows us to connect instantaneously with others who share our interests anywhere in the world. Sports, politics, TV, film: nothing is immune from social media’s ubiquitous reach.
Social media excites and terrifies us in equal measure. For better or worse, it is an inextricable part of our 21st century lives. And we are better off for talking about and understanding how it shapes our perceptions of the world we live in.
That’s where The Social Conversation comes in. Share our experiences; join the conversation. After all, it’s not called social media for nothing.
You can find The Social Conversation in the following places. Why not give us a follow?
- Blog – thesocialconversation.com
- Facebook – facebook.com/groups/thesocialconversation
- Twitter – @SocialConvoUK