Recently there was a really good article in the New York Times about ‘Digital Diplomacy‘ which really rang true for me.

The story is about “…Jared Cohen, the youngest member of the State Department’s policy planning staff, and Alec Ross, the first senior adviser for innovation to the secretary of state…”

The are using social media sites like Twitter as “an integral part of a new State Department effort to bring diplomacy into the digital age, by using widely available technologies to reach out to citizens, companies and other

nonstate actors.”

And here’s the thing, when they tweet, they tweet as themselves, not as representative of the State Department or anything else, but as individuals who work for the State Department which obviously forms a major part of their identity and what they tweet about.

In other words, they tweet about major events in diplomatic circles (Guinea’s first free election since 1958) and pop cultural or personal stuff as well (the season premiere of Entourage).

I see a lot of people using social media tools purely for marketing purposes and it just doesn’t work. Why would you voluntarily add a series of ads to your twitter feed? It’s uninteresting and I’m bombarded with enough advertising as it is already, thank you very much.

That’s why I quite like this site: howtousetwitterformarketingandpr.com

A good example of this is politicians. Far too many don’t ‘get’ twitter and just use it for self promotion and cheap shots at the opposition. Classic examples include Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott, Peter Garrett and Andrew Robb

A notable exception is Malcolm Turnbull, a known tech-head who has a fantastic banter going with AMWU chief Paul Howes.

I follow all these people because I’m a political junky but they are largely incredibly boring. The people I find interesting are journalists, programmers and academics who fill my twitter feed with a plethora of fascinating insights and links. In fact twitter has just become my default news feed and it usually beats any ‘established’ media to the punch by quite a bit.

Another good example of this is Wineries. I’ve built websites for a couple of wineries now and my own personal project is wine-related (Sommelier.net.au) so I follow quite a few wineries on Twitter. Those that do it we tell me about what’s going on with their harvest, when they are bottling wines and how the tastings are going. The bad ones just tell me the latest special they have at their cellar door.

So when using these tools, make them interesting. Tell the personal side. That’s how you get people following you and that’s how people will find out about your fantastic services.

Perhaps the most notable tweeter of all is Stephen Fry, so I’ll leave you with his comments to the ABC:

“If you’re not on Twitter and you’ve only heard of it and it’s only been described to you, then naturally you will go, ‘Phww! What?! Never! What is… I never! What the! Oh for heaven’s, Oh good gracious! Oh, what?! Are we supposed to be interested… Oh, Lord! How trivial! How tedious!’ etc, etc, etc.

“I can completely understand why they would think that but they should bear in mind, I think, that maybe early in the 18th century there was a new kind of technology as hand presses and printing became cheaper and cheaper and cheaper.

“It wasn’t the full invention of printing, any more than Twitter is the full invention of the internet. It’s a little development within it that seems so small. And there was the little development of the hand presses that led to magazines, journalism.”


Spire Software is three friends: Mike Boehm, Lukas Berk and Hammy Goonan. We have been collaborating on web-based projects for some time and share common ideas around web and software development.

It was only a matter of time before we decided to make the partnership formal and form a company.

We hope this will be an exciting adventure that will see the creation of

innovative and exciting projects.

This blog will work as a sounding board for us to promote our clients, explore ideas on the future of web and software development and share our thoughts and tips on running an effective website.

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