The $39 dilemma: should I start tweeting by buying a few thousand followers?

June 23, 2015

Twitter teems with offers through which you can buy followers by the thousand.  This seems the social media equivalent of the sub-prime financing of mortgages  

A few months ago I started tweeting more regularly. This relatively harmless occupation was rewarded as I connected with a small number of discriminating tweeters who followed me, and I them. Tit-for-tat following was part of social media practice.  It also explains how ‘like attracts like’.  My followers and following grew steadily month by month. The scale was still manageable.

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Martha Lane Fox is an inspirational leader and role model

March 31, 2015

Martha_Lane_FoxIt is easy to find examples of the dark side of charismatic leadership. Then someone comes along who restores confidence in the possibility of the bright side of positive charismatic influence

I have little doubt that Martha Lane Fox (Baroness Fox of Soho, and founder of the Last minute dot com company) started something important in the 2015 Dimbleby lecture last night [March 30th, 2015]. Her presentation was an elegant masterpiece of rhetoric for a digital age she has already helped shape.

The core of her argument to me is a simple message directed initially at a UK audience, but one that has resonance around the world. Information Technology has given us the potential for doing much more than we are for the common good. Yet it needs independent and firm monitoring to avoid abuse, not least through State-sponsored surveillance.

And without a PowerPoint in sight

Whereas others in public life have making this point every day (in lastminutepowerpointdotcom fashion), very few of us have the talent of MLF, who reminded us that PowerPoint is not obligatory to communicate a message effectively.

The self-fulfilling prophesy

Even if, like me, you missed her talk in real time, you will be able to recapture the moment easily. [In the UK you can see it on the BBC iplayer available for another 29 days ] There is further traction because Martha Lane Fox has a follow-up plan to mobilize public opinion behind her ideas. Partly, through the capacity of the web to capture and transmit messages to us all. Here we a self-fulfilling aspect of her message.

The follow-up: Doteveryone

The follow-up is the doteveryone Movement announced at the lecture, and created with the intention of influencing powerful leaders to contribute more to a new age of e-responsible actions. Doteveryone will go viral.

The lecture as a treasure trove of tweets

The lecture is worthy of close study by students of leadership. It might also have been written for mining its numerous sound-bites into memorable tweets. If you are among those tweeters transmitters of inspirational sayings, it could keep you going for several months.

To be continued

Je Suis Charlie today, Not In My Name tomorrow

January 9, 2015

January 7th 2015 will be remembered as the day in Paris where two gunmen shouting religious slogans killed eight staff members of the satirical publication Charlie Hebdo, as well as two bystanders and police officers. Within hours, Je Suis Charlie, became the slogan in support of the murdered journalists. It spread around the world

Late in the evening, still wrestling with the news of dreadful carnage I turned first to BBC’s Newsnight and later to the views expressed in the Social Media.

Harrowing scenes from Paris dominated the BBS’s Newsnight programme, with a serious discussion of the political issues behind the all-too human pain and anger over the atrocity. Perhaps too narrow a band of participating voices? The programme uneasily admitted to the difficult decision whether it should show the cartoons from Charlie Hebdo that had brought down on it cold-blooded murder of its cartoonists.

The Social media debate

It was the intensity and variety of the Twitter stream that jerked me out of a state of numbness. What are you feeling? What can you share? I forced myself to ask.

Tweets were being generated moment by moment. I began to see my dilemma. I shared the expressions of revulsion being expressed. I marveled at the creation of social cohesion captured in Je suis Charlie. If you are against everything symbolized by the acts of the assassins, surely you must be as utterly committed to supporting the principles symbolized by Charlie Hebdo?

Bill Maher ‏@billmaher Jan 7

Condemning attack is not enuf: unless U strongly endorse the right of anyone to make fun of any religion/prophet, U r not a moderate Muslim

Tudor Rickards ‏@Tudortweet

@billmaher however, the right to make fun of anyone is not of itself something I “strongly support” as a guiding moral principle.

trianglman ‏@trianglman Jan 7 responding to Bill Maher

It’s never appropriate to be a dick. Asking people to not only condone dickishness, but endorse it is ridiculous.

PM ‏@StLFullORacists Jan 7 responding to Bill Maher and trianglman

@trianglman @billmaher Don’t think he’s condoning being a dick (maybe), rather endorsing the right to be a dick w/o getting killed.

Tudor Rickards ‏@Tudortweet responding to trianglman

@StLFullORacists @trianglman @billmaher think you got deeper than most here. Wisdom not correlated with number of followers.

Tudor Rickards ‏@Tudortweet attempting to resolve personal dilemmas

Je suis Charlie. of course, today. Then, later see how Not in my name is stronger for tomorrow.

January 8th 2014

The Trump Card

From America, Donald Trump opined that the journalists would have had a better chance of surviving if there were more legal guns available in France. Although Trump was widely described as moronic, it seems his view also received support from Americans calling for him to stand as President

7-9 January

A further atrocity is linked to the attack. After three days of intense search, two inter-related sieges end in further bloodshed

11 January

World-wide support for Charlie Hebdo in largest demonstration in nation’s history in Paris

14 January

Sympathy and financial support for Charlie Hebdo as first edition of magazine is published after the attack.

Black Friday battles become a test of Corporate Social Responsibility

December 1, 2014

England’s leading retailers embraced America’s Black Friday sales strategy violently as November drew to a close

Images of mob-battles in search of bargains suggest this will be a test of how companies will respond to a challenge to their claimed code of ethical practices. As this was our first serious attempt in the UK to import this innovation, corporate planners may have assumed that it would be greeted by the tolerance always displayed by the English citizen queuing for services.

Hand to hand combat

What happened was a display of desperate consumerism. As the doors to the supermarkets opened, patient hours of waiting ended as hand-to-hand combat broke out in the battle for plasma televisions.

Like a desperate struggle for famine relief supplies

It was like a desperate struggle for relief supplies you see in famine relief films, one observer said.

Minor battle, few casualties

There were surprisingly few reported injuries, perhaps fewer than during a Manchester United training session. One shopper was reported as bombed by a television, and a few cars were damaged on the fringes of the battle, but the casualties were light.

Social media quickly showed not dissimilar scenes from America. No shoot-outs were reported in the struggles to secure the last iPad on sale. The first martyr celebrating Black Friday has yet to be chronicled.

For students of leadership

For students of leadership there are several matters for reflection. Will leaders show any convincing commitment to their claims of putting the customer first and displaying high ethical values? The social media storm seems to have caught them unprepared.

To be continued

Sherlock Holmes series on BBC TV illustrates charismatic infatuation

January 26, 2014

The recent Sherlock Holmes series on BBC Television was launched in a sustained and skillful blaze of publicity. Its impact suggests an explanation of charismatic influence

The advertising hype created a teaser over the apparent death of Sherlock at the end of the first series two years earlier. The character in the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories survived a fall. The viewers were now invited to explain the survival of the Sherlock as played by Benedict Cumberbatch

The Holmes Watson relationship

Two themes dominated the first of the three episodes. The first was How did Sherlock survive the fall from a high building? The second was the intense homoerotic nature of the Holmes Watson relationship.

The Marmite factor

The reaction of viewers to all episodes was intense. The reviews released a quite astonishing emotional outpouring of replies. Fans demonstrated the so called Marmite effect [you love it or loath it, with little cool or rational reactions displayed] Nearly a thousand comments appeared hours after the Guardian review.

For the first two episodes reviewers tended to be rather lukewarm towards the production, acknowledging outstanding elements of acting and plot but rather unsatisfactory coherence and more than a whiff of smug self-indulgence. The third was widely regarded as by far the most dramatic and compelling to watch.

The infatuation effect

As evidenced by the thousand comments [of the first two and more unsatisfactory episodes for the critics], a sizable proportion of fans were infatuated by the mega-star of the series, Holmes played by Benedict Cumberbatch. For this group, the overwhelming emotion was unconditional expressions of love, coupled with anger at those who expressed any signs of disappointment in the production.

Is this a clue to the nature of charismatic leadership?

Possibly. At least there is a suggestion of a line of research into followership and charisma. The vulnerability induced in followers by the charismatic leader could be studied through investigation of the concept of celebrity infatuation.

Twitter goes public: a few tweets

September 13, 2013

When Twitter announced it was going public, Leaders we Deserve Editor in Tweet provided his own tweets to mark the news

Friday 13th September 2013

1. Tudor Rickards ‏@Tudortweet now
@smh Thanks.Your article on twitter has encouraged me to review my earlier blogs from the time I wondered what Twitter’s business model is
2. Tudor Rickards ‏@Tudortweet now
Further thoughts on Twitter. What I like: unexpectedness of tweets from people with primary focus to communicate not capitalize
3. Tudor Rickards ‏@Tudortweet now
Further thoughts of twitter: What I dislike, Use as crude and sometimes covert advertising [lessons to be learned from TV commercials]
4. Tudor Rickards ‏@Tudortweet now
I tweet therefore I am. I don’t tweet because I am something else
5. Tudor Rickards ‏@Tudortweet now
Last twitter tweet for now. Twitter will split into several services whose form and function will be shaped by us the tweeters.

A more formal analysis on how Twitter makes money came from The Sydney Morning Herald. This triggered the Tweets above.

Other early tweeters

1. Reuters India ‏@ReutersIndia 2h
Twitter takes first step toward going public
2. James Hirsen ‏@thejimjams 3h
Things to know before you load up on Twitter stock
3. Los Angeles Times

Twitter files for an IPO; five things you should know
As you may have heard, Twitter has filed for a confidential initial public offering of stock, so in case you aren’t too familiar with the company, here are five quick things you should know.
[Also shows original Twitter announcement]

Do Ye Ken John Keane?

March 26, 2013

John PeelLeaders we deserve announce the forthcoming post on leadership from author and leadership researcher, John Keane. John believes that social media such as blog sites are offering opportunities for experimenting with new formats for communicating ideas

John’s post, which takes the form of a piece of creative writing, will appear in LWD within the next few days.

The image

The image of John Peel [not John Keane] is from the nostalgic site Pipe dreams from the Shire . Blame your editor for thinking John Keane shared his name with John Peel before correcting the original title of this announcement. I thought subscribers might still enjoy the image of the celebrated Cumbrian huntsman.

Will twitter change the course of history and swing the Presidential election?

October 24, 2012

Another too-close-to-call Presidential campaign. And a pivotal moment is being identified as the first Presidential debate, which seems to have caught out team Obama by the influence of a whirlwind of tweets on reshaping political opinion

ABC’s Michael Brissenden suggested it did.

In his post Twitter frenzies shake up traditional debate tactics, he suggests that “In politics Twitter might be proving to be a new and somewhat unpredictable complication”. I have summarized his analysis below:

Impact of the first televised debate

If Barack Obama does lose this election, the first TV debate of this campaign will take on a historical significance that will be studied by political science undergraduates for years to come and no doubt writ large in campaign strategists’ offices for decades.

The frenzy of online engagement is like performance algebra – a jumble of characters, symbols and short, sharp calculations that somehow end up reaching a conclusion, faster and more efficiently than the old-school campaign long division.

As a result 90 minutes of prime time TV became a political eternity. In cyber space no-one can hear you scream but they can sure tell if you’re off your game. They used to say you could tell who won a TV debate even with the sound turned off – but no-one can control the volume of instant messaging. And politicians all over the world are being caught flat-footed by it.

It was 90 minutes the Obama campaign could never get back. The dynamics shifted decisively and now we have a contest that some think could end up being one of the closest presidential races ever.

Two more weeks

Two more weeks of relentless politics, increasingly targeted on the handful of ‘swing states’ whose uncommitted voters are believed to hold the key to the election. Two more weeks of attack ads. Do they influence anybody? And if not, why are funders spending billions of dollars on an expensive turnoff? The pollsters have been predicting a close race for some while.

To be continued

Anti-capitalist group Anonymous targets another Bank website

October 20, 2012

The Anonymous anti-capitalist group claims to be behind the recent disruption to the HSBC bank websites

On Thursday 18th October, another denial of service attack on a Bank’s website occurred. The group of computer activists known as Anonymous claimed responsibility. Anonymous appears to be loosely linked network of activists. This particular attack seems to be claimed by a UK-based part of the wider network, although the description as a ‘splinter group’ seems inappropriate.

Aggrieved activists

The Anonymous messages, partly via Twitter, appear to show that the activists are particularly aggrieved that the attack may may be claimed by other militant groups. This addresses the assumption that the attack was by Muslim hacktivists as part of campaign of denial of service attacks against US banks last month in protest against the controversial Innocence of Muslims video.

As some of you may be aware HSBC bank suffered several DDoS attacks on the named sites in the past hours they were all brought down by@FawkesSecurity. Before any claim fags attempt to take ownership of this attack, the proof is all in our Twitter account, Targets, time and date 🙂 @FawkesSecurity

We are Anonymous
We are legion
We do not forget
We do not forgive
Expect us

To be continued

Face to face in Moscow: Facebook’s founder meets Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev

October 2, 2012

Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg met Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow to discuss intellectual property issues.

Zuckerberg was beginning his quest for new global markets, as the leader of the newly floated Facebook organization [May 2012]

The Voice of Russia reported:

On Monday [1st October 2012] Dmitry Medvedev and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg had an informal meeting at the Prime Minister`s residence outside Moscow.

Since Mr Medvedev has his personal video blog, not to mention accounts on Facebook, Twitter and LiveJournal, his meeting with Zuckerberg, whose social networking site already has over 995 million users, has become a hot topic for the media.

Mr Medvedev was reported as saying

“The social networking sites have become extremely popular worldwide. And Facebook`s contribution to this is obvious. If I am not mistaken, some 10 million Russians are on Facebook. Of course, it is not that much compared to the US, where there are about 30 million Facebook users. Still, these figures are impressive. We also have our national social networking sites such as Odnoklassniki (Classmates) and VKontakte (Staying in touch). Besides, everybody is using Twitter. This is a kind of a different reality. And you personally have contributed to this”

Mr. Medvedev and Mr Zuckerberg discussed copyright protection on the web.

“As a lawyer myself I am very interested in this issue. I used to do research on it in the past. I believe that if an object of intellectual property is not listed on the web as requiring special protection it could be used freely” Mr. Medvedev said.

Friends or not?

When the meeting was over, Mark Zuckerberg presented Dmitry Medvedev with a T-shirt printed with the address of Medvedev`s Facebook page. The Voice of Russia report did not say whether Dmitry and Mark had friended each other, and if so, when.

The IP challenge

The conversation ever-so-politely introduced the challenges of intellectual property rights facing Facebook and other Western organizations as they seek to work globally.

The bonds that tie

It occurred to me that for all the differences in culture, America and Russia have been parts of the world which have seen the rise of self-made entrepreneurs cum billionaires. In that sense Zuckerman has a head start over the more traditional Fortune 100 CEOs in doing business there.


Image from biz Russia. IP rights as indicated by Mr. Medvedev