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We’re on the move…

Can you pack your suitcase? We’re about to move house.

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These past few weeks I’ve been working on my new site EG | Social. I’ve been having all sorts of fun with hosting and migration and modifying WordPress themes and technical stuff. I’m almost ready to launch (you can see the work-in-progress at EG | Social – and your feedback is very welcome).

I’ve been learning loads about how to modify WordPress themes, using plugins and even tweaking css (!), but there are a few things that haven’t worked the way they are supposed to. As with a lot of learning experiences, sometimes you have to press save, see what happens and then fix it.

One thing I haven’t been able to test is whether I can migrate subscribers and followers. In theory if you have subscribed to my feed, you should notice nothing, but the support forums of WordPress suggest that this is often not the case. I’d like you all to join me on the move – the blog posts will continue as usual – so I’ll ask you to be patient while I work everything out.

As a sweetener and early Christmas present, here’s a mixtape of winter songs for you. Right click on the image above and download Scarves & Gloves Part 7 – 45 mins of HappySad music for your winter walks. If you want more of that sot of thing, you can fill your Christmas stockings with parts 1-6 of the Scarves & Gloves series.

The next time you hear from me, it should be coming from EG | Social.

I hope!

The Week In Social: Achieving Virality, Networking for Introverts, JP Morgan’s inability to learn anything.

TWIS JP Morgan Twitter fail Susan Cain Can we make a story go viral? Annalee Newitz reckons we can try. Are you an introvert terrified of networking? Susan Cain shows you how to do it without hospitalisation. JP Morgan show us how arrogance and social media don’t mix while TWO tweeters called John Lewis show us how to do it right. 

Virality is the social media manager’s Holy Grail. We want content to be talked about and get shared quickly. Annalee Newitz has a theory about virality online that boils down to this: “We measure success by what people aren’t afraid to share with their neighbors, rather than what people will read on their own.” She also has a charmingly shonky diagram illustrating how ambiguity results in fewer shares. So, read it because you will learn things for sure.

While we’re here, agencies often talk about “making a viral”. I understand that they mean a short video with striking characteristics that they hope will go viral, but the term feels a little presumptuous. We could just stop using ‘viral’ as a noun and that would solve the problem, but I digress.

The most patient man on Twitter. Who is amazing, great at Christmas, reliable, professional, quite trustworthy and always delivers when he says he’s going to? Yes, John Lewis, professor of computer science at Virginia Tech is all of these things. How do we know this? Well, he shares his name with one of the UK’s major department stores and, with the launch of John Lewis’ (@JohnLewisRetail) £7 million Christmas advert, our man in Virginia has been responding to a stream of misdirected compliments. He’s a good sport though. As is seven-year-old US schoolboy Grayson Perry

Can introverts network? Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, reckons we can. In this 20-minute interview with Marie Forleo (shall we mention Marie’s amazing hair again? Yes), Cain gives some very practical advice on how the less gregarious among us can deal with terrible, awful things like networking (reframe it as a chance to find a kindred spirit to have an enjoyable chat with) or feeling drained (“When you’re ready to fly, don’t deny!”). Well worth twenty minutes of your time the next time you’re hiding from the telephone.

JP Morgan – ur  doin it wrong. Again.  The fallout from the global financial crisis continues apace. In a week where Occupy Wall Street recaptured attention with their audacious Robin Hood purchase and cancellation of $15 million of debt, JP Morgan’s attempt to ‘leverage the powerful potentialities of social media to enhance brand value etc etc’ by hosting a Twitter Q&A spectacularly exploded in their clueless faces. The folk on Twitter told JPMorgan very quickly that they were not welcome round these parts.

While I’m not one to advocate a Twitterstorm, organisations such as JP Morgan deserve all the flak they get – both for their part in the crisis and for the misplaced arrogance of believing their marketing muscle has currency in a medium that rewards authenticity and transparency.

Daddy or Chips? visits Mayflower. If you will indulge me a little and allow me to present my latest chilled house mix by my DJ alter ego Daddy or Chips? You can stream the mix on Mixcloud and, if you like it, sign up to the mailing list for future releases and the like.

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Enda Guinan is a consultant and trainer offering advice on social media and content creation for individuals and small businesses. Get in touch to see how you can make the best use of your time and energy as you put together your social media plans.


The Week in Social: Mavericks, Mutants, Teens and Drag Queens – how to make people care about you online.

Diptic image of Leland Bobbé, Apple Mavericks & Facebook Privacy

It’s kind of a drag.

Far from being careless online, teens can runs rings around us when it comes to privacy. Take a peek at some hidden features in Apple’s Mavericks. The X Men hype machine takes to Vine and Instagram. Leland Bobbé’s beautiful portraits of men in half drag, and some advice about how you present your words online.

I need a little lie down.

Apple released the latest version of OSX this week. Having run out of cats, the Californians have moved onto local placenames starting with the awkwardly-plural Mavericks (a surfing locale round their parts). While not a huge leap in terms of functionality, it has the distinction of being Apple’s first completely free iteration of their operating system.  There are some nifty low-key new features though as this short clip from Lifehacker demonstrates.

It also has the distinction of botching up my iMac on install which has provided me with an opportunity to start from scratch with a clean install (long overdue) and to remind everyone to back their stuff up before diving in to major upgrades.

No one cares about you. That may sound a bit harsh, but Rupert Bradshaw at pH Creative means well. ‘Whether you’re writing tweets, on-page copy, blogs or email content – always ask yourself why you’ve written what you’ve written. If it’s just because you want people to know it, that’s not good enough,’ he writes.  ‘It only deserves to be there of it provides some value to the reader.’

Half-drag. Good content doesn’t have to be practical; the reader will also appreciate content that entertains or educates. Leland Bobbé’s striking portraits of men half in drag have been doing the rounds online over the last couple of weeks. Eschewing digital effects, the images show both the male and female alter egos in one snap. The photographer has helpfully rounded up all of the coverage on his blog and you can find the full gallery on imgur.

Worried about your teens using social media? Afraid that they aren’t savvy enough about privacy for example? Jacqui Cheung of Ars Technica prepared a four-hour workshop on privacy settings for a group of Chicago teens recently. Her presentation was met with utter boredom as she learned that these kids are far more conscious of privacy than older people. And some of their techniques are ingenious: they deleted their Facebook profiles instead of logging off. This meant that their data was not visible to The Olds but could be reactivated next time they logged in. The whole piece is an (enjoyable) eye-opener.

X Men: Days of Future Past hits the cinemas next May, but the publicity machine has already kicked in. Teaser trailers are nothing new, but 20th Century Fox have turned to Instagram and Vine to launch the movie which will feature the casts from the X Men trilogy and the First Class reboot. Director Bryan Singer takes to Twitter on Monday for a chat and users can participate with the hashtags #AskSinger and #XMen. It’s a whole new world…

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Enda Guinan is a consultant and trainer offering advice on social media and content creation for individuals and small businesses. Get in touch to see how you can make the best use of your time and energy as you put together your social media plans.

The Week in Social: Video Special

Let’s get visual this time with a selection of clips that should twerk your Fusiform Facial area. Online video has been feted for years and its latest incarnation is as ‘content marketing’ i.e. the radical notion that by making something useful, people will want to visit your website (!). Here are a few examples of online video at work for both small and large budgets. And after all that, a cautionary tale of sorts.

We like video.

Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D. says there are four reasons we love video. As Forbes report:

  • The Fusiform Facial area makes us pay attention to faces – this is an actual brain function that hard-wires us to use the human face as a gathering point for information and believability.
  • Voice conveys rich information – yes, the simple sound of a human voice speaking to us has an amazing way of converting information into meaningful content.
  • Emotions are contagious – here’s a subtle but powerful aspect that we may take for granted. The body language of emotions is an appealing and we naturally love to share.
  • Movement grabs attention – another trait that runs deep in our collective anthropological DNA is the power of peripheral motion. Since the stone age, we’ve survived by noticing things in motion – looks like we still do!

So, with all that, and the boggling realisation that YouTube is the number two search engine in the world, here’s a selection of videos that do different things very well. Some are creative and some are businesses promoting themselves (although that can be creative too of course…).

All of them work.

Content, content, content (and hair). I’m not entirely sure what Marie Forleo does to make a living, but she has established herself as an online guru for people developing a business. The production values are dialled up (and I suspect, because it is so flawless, her hair is a Pixar creation) but the advice is solid. So regardless of budget, make sure you have something to say.

Should You Open The Kimono: 3 Ways To Deal With Industry Competition via MarieForleo.com

We like animations and humour too. This short clip from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation cleverly addresses a dirty topic: how best to think differently about sanitation in the developing world. As the top comment says, ‘let’s get our shit together and do it…’.

Can you keep it real? There are hundreds of accountancy firms that will do those unglamourous spreadsheets for you. How do you choose one? This firm uses short, authentic and effective testimonials as a kind of digital word of mouth. Simple.

via RBS Chartered Accountants, London.

Establish authority. Another way to go (as long you actually have the insights!) is to establish yourself as an authority in your sector. I contribute content for yourBusinessChannel whose service involves creating online channels that feature short clips of expertise from movers and shakers in a particular industry. A company or individual partners with yBC to place themselves at the core of a whole host of industry insight. Clever.

Here’s their Hospitality Channel.

But don’t stay behind your screen all the time buying things…

Shimi Cohen’s arresting animated clip examines the connection between social media and loneliness. I share therefore I am…

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Enda Guinan is a consultant and trainer offering advice on social media and product delivery for individuals and small businesses. Get in touch to see how you can make the best use of your time and energy as you put together your social media plans.

The Week in Social: Google vs Death, saying ‘yes’ to mystery, e-begging Groomzillas and The Fox is a proper hit

Google are out to eliminate death with their latest offshoot. Why we should vote ‘yes’ to mystery but ‘no’ to flying this couple’s parents to one of their four global wedding shindigs. And The Fox has cracked the US Top 100. Ring-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding!

The Week in Social: Google vs Death, saying ‘yes’ to mystery, e-begging Groomzillas and The Fox is a proper hitGoogle vs Death

Google is no stranger to innovation and risk-taking. It’s short history is littered with staggering successes and some noble failures, but not content with self-driving cars and Google Glass, the company now wants to have a shot at tackling mortality. The soon-to-be-announced Calico company will ‘attempt to solve some of healthcare’s most vexing problems, ’reports Time.

Not much is know about the firm as yet but the CEO is Arthur Levinson who previously headed up biotech innovators, Genentech. Time speculates that Google will most likely seek to leverage its data-processing power in any attempt to prolong human life.

“In some industries, it takes ten or 20 years to go from an idea to something being real. Healthcare is certainly one of those areas,” said Larry Page. “Maybe we should shoot for the things that are really, really important so ten or 20 years from now we have those things done.”

Don’t feed the models

Crowdfunding has emerged as a viable way for people to find money to finance their projects without depending on the traditional outlets such as banks and venture capital. While there are risks associated with depending on funding from a lot of small investors, the model is attractive to community groups, tech developers, artists and now a couple of attractive models want your money to… fly their parents to their wedding.

Eric Turner and Morné Coetzer are getting married in South Africa next January and have turned to gofundme.com to raise $7,000 [UPDATE: the page has been removed] to fly Turner’s parents from Houston to South Africa for the event. The Internet, unsurprisingly, is not amused that the couple who met a year ago and since then ”have travelled the world together. London, Paris, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Ibiza, Houston, San Antonio, Austin” plan four events worldwide to celebrate their union.

One commenter on the crowdfund page is evenhanded: Story is sweet and best of luck to you, but… Accommodate the parents and those closest to you, don’t accommodate casual friends by having 4 different events. Asking invited guests to donate to a charity in lieu of gifts is commendable: you guys are not a charity though. You’ve created a sob story out of arrogance and have definitely created a new definition for crass.

Not everyone is annoyed; the couple have raised over $4,000 at the time of writing. Meanwhile, One Step Malawi are hoping to raise £5000 to build a school for orphans.

Voting ‘yes’ for mystery…

Musicians were the real early adopters of the crowdfunding model. This was largely out of necessity as the traditional model of record company backing collapsed or was rendered unnecessary by cheap technology.

However, having to be promoter, distributor and manager as well as artist has its downsides as Phil Elverum of Washington-based act Mount Eerie discovered when he received a polite request to exchange an album bought at a gig.

Elverum responds: You are not purchasing a reliable product like pants.  You are voting “yes” for mystery.  I know that I might resemble a store, with my website and merch table and all these commodities, but I am an artist and I believe that music should remain unpredictable and occasionally frustrating, and ultimately rewarding, magical.

The entire – very civil – exchange is both entertaining and illuminating as the roles of artist and businessperson continue to blur.

Ring-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding!

Here’s The Fox by Ylvis. This promotional clip for a Norwegian variety show is going viral with its almost 40 million spins on YouTube landing it at number 29 in the Billboard Hot 100. Makes Gangnam Style feel like a challenging BBC 4 documentary…

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Enda Guinan is a consultant and trainer offering advice on social media and product delivery for individuals and small businesses. Get in touch to see how you can make the best use of your time and energy as you put together your social media plans.

The Week in Social: #payback for BA, @ministryofsound vs @Spotify and @SenJohnMcCain’s war games.

The internet is for three things: cats, porn and complaining. One Twitter user pays to get his point across to British Airways, Ministry of Sound sues Spotify to find out if playlist sequences can be copyrighted. And having moaned about both of these fine businesses in the past, I grab my popcorn and eagerly wait for developments.

The Week In Social 06 Sept John McCAin Poker British AIrways Promoted Tweet Spotify sued by Ministry of Sound

#payback. By now, we’ve become used to seeing brands using Promoted Tweets to snag an eye-catching position in our Twitter timelines to expand their conversation/market their wares. Promoted Tweets are essentially advertisements that can target Twitter users by keywords, interest, geography and device. One chap, majorly ticked off with British Airways’ silence (the irony!) after losing his dad’s luggage, decided to promote his Tweet to their followers in the US and UK.

Just when brands think they are getting the hang of this social media stuff, along comes a curveball. BA responded after ten hours and HVSVN’s dad was reunited with his luggage. The Promoted Tweet cost $1000 and was picked up by the BBC, Huffington Post, Mashable and loads more.

(I must admit to some schadenfreude here as I had a lousy experience with BA last Monday from Chicago with a pair of flight attendants in Club World that were miserable, inattentive and, in one case, possibly drunk. “To fly, to serve” BA claim.)

Can you copyright a playlist? Ministry of Sound want to know and are suing music streaming service Spotify to find out. Users of the service can create and share playlists with any of the tracks that Spotify has the rights to and it seems that many have been recreating the tracklists of Ministry of Sound compilation albums.

MoS licence the vast majority of these tracks from other labels so they don’t have a claim to the copyright of the music, but they argue that they have a right to copyright on the sequence the tracks appear on their albums. “If we don’t step up and take some action against a service and users that are dismissing our curation skills as just a list, that opens up the floodgates to anybody who wants to copy what a curator is doing” says MoS Chief Executive Lohan Presencer.

Legal experts are pointing to a similar case in 2010 when the UK High Court ruled that English and Scottish football leagues had copyright on their fixture lists, but this was later overturned. My feeling is that MoS will struggle with this one.

War Games. US Senator John McCain has not had a great deal of luck with gambling in the past (remember Sarah Palin?) and this week he was snapped playing poker on his iPhone during a Senate hearing on Syria.

McCain laughed it off on Twitter, but it seems that that decision too was a poor one.

Just Delete Me Have you signed up to all sorts of services and sites and now want it all to go away? Just Delete Me or Account Killer might make things easier for you. Both sites list a range of sites and link directly to the unsubscribe page. They also give you an idea of how difficult the self-extraction may be. Good luck!

 

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Enda Guinan is a consultant and trainer offering advice on social media and product delivery for individuals and small businesses. Get in touch to see how you can make the best use of your time and energy as you put together your social media plans.

The Week in Social: The Amazing Pixar Theory, Arthur Guinness questioned, Sochi grief and The Late David Turpin returns.

The Week In Social 16 August 2013 Sochi Pixar David Turpin Arthur Guinness Projects

We’re talking about sincerity this week. Authenticity is a much-valued property in social media and people have a way of sniffing out (and calling out) Ridiculous Marketing Nonsense. Sincerity is rewarded and admired with folk wanting to help out by supporting a protest or contributing their knowledge or funding. So, we see folk mobilising online against Russia’s antigay laws by protesting the Sochi Winter Games. The Pixar Theory is an example of one passionate individual incorporating feedback from similarly passionate people to create an entertainingly elaborate unifying theory for all of the Pixar movies.  But we must ask if Diageo’s latest Guinness social media campaign is genuinely helping creative projects get much needed funding or a cynical marketing stunt that may turn people against the brand.

The Pixar Theory.  “All of the Pixar movies actually exist within the same universe!’ is the bold claim made by Jon Negroni. Inspired by  a video on Cracked.com that claims that all Pixar movies are about apocalypse, Negroni became obsessed with the idea of a grand unifying narrative that explained all of the Pixar movies since Toy Story. The main website doesn’t do the whole, meticulous and indeed crowdsourced theory justice, so read the full thing on Negroni’s blog.

Fascinating stuff, and bears a striking similarity to the rebooted Battlestar Galactica story too, no?

Sincerity in Social Media – A Tricky Business. Diageo’s latest Guinness marketing initiative in Ireland is coming under scrutiny. Diageo are making bursaries of up to €50,000 available to creative projects that garner enough votes from the public (and pass muster with judges that include The Script, Chris O’Dowd and more). The Irish Times’ Jim Carroll has major reservations about creatives effectively doing Diageo’s marketing for free by pestering their mates to vote for them through social media (the #arthurguinnessprojects hastag has been popping up in Irish folk’s Twitter and Facebook spaces quite a lot).

No-one is denying that the arts requires funds, but few seem to be asking why this sort of shizzle has become the norm. In terms of promoting great culture, art and creativity, plugging the bejaysus out of a company who flog alcohol to the masses doesn’t strike one as the right way to go about this.

But are Carroll and other critics looking at this from only one perspective? One commenter points out that ‘arts practitioners, journos etc. are in the eye of the storm – we work around these people all the time, so our feeds our packed with a multitude of asks. [H]owever when I reach out to my network outside of the arts, I’m the only ask they are ever getting. They don’t know any other artists, and actually they really want to get involved and help”.

Those Sochi Blues. I’ve tried but I can’t find the source of this striking collage of distressed LGBT people in Russia with the logos of various sponsors of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. I saw it on Facebook and then added it to a tweet which has been retweeted almost 100 times and reached thousands and thousands of eyeballs.

Those advocating a boycott or protest have also been making their feelings known on the official Facebook and Twitter accounts of the Sochi 2014 Winter Games. Judging by the lack of response through these channels, the social media team are hoping all the noise will just go away.

Twitter redeemed. This blog has been highlighting some of the more unedifying behaviour magnified by Twitter recently, so it’s with great pleasure that we can also bring you some of the opposite. Sports Illustrated writer Richard Deitsch tweeted out a request for followers to share a photograph of ‘the single best moment of your life’. The crowdsourced response is touching.

Philip Larkin vs Paradise Garage Forget ridiculous marketing nonsense for 4 mins and download some smart pop from Dubliner David Turpin. In advance of his ‘We Belong Dead’ album due in September, we get a  “disco meditation on the loss of sexual innocence and the dark side of parenthood”. ‘A Warning to the Curious’ is 20 percent Philip Larkin and 80 percent Paradise Garage”. (So slinky is the track that it fits beautifully in #comicbookresurrection, a DJ mix by my alter ego Daddy or Chips?)

I’m sold. Buy it on iTunes now.

The Week in Social is on vacation until Sept 6th. Enjoy the rest of the summer!

The Week in Social: Grim times on Twitter, Emojimadness and surviving without a corkscrew

Emojitracker Caroline Criado-Perez Social Media Advice

Stick with me through the boorish behaviour on Twitter this week and learn how to open a wine bottle with a shoe. Oh, and if you’re looking to use social media for your business, you need to learn the difference between ‘click-to-buy’ and ‘click-to-share’.

Boorish behaviour on Twitter. Twitter has been a most dispiriting place in the UK this last week. Misogyny, verbal abuse, rape and violence shouldn’t be part of civilised discourse, but as Caroline Criado-Perez discovered as she successfully campaigned to get a non-royal woman on a UK banknote, they are par for the course. The whole ugly business is recorded on Storify here by Kathy E Gill, who concludes the piece thus:

The medium is young. Our skill with it, artless, adolescent, juvenile. How long will it take enough of us to move beyond this tribalism to eradicate such boorish behavior? Or is that even possible?

UK Home Office twitter

Speaking of boorish behaviour, the UK’s Home Office have been condemned for first driving what has been dubbed the #racistvan around parts of London encouraging illegal immigrants to go home. The department made matters worse by using their Twitter account to run updates on the number of suspected immigrants they had arrested that day.

Advertising is the cost of being boring. I have occasionally turned down business when it became clear that the would-be client wanted to use social media to generate quick sales (advertise) instead of patiently build a loyal community (share). Jeremy Waite (he of the wonderful 80 Rules of Social Media) explains the difference between ‘click-to-buy’ and ‘click-to-share’ and  reminds us of Zig Ziglar’s motto ‘You can have everything you want in life if you just help enough other people get what they want’.

Social media is (previous ugliness on Twitter excepted) a place where generosity is currency. This week my friend, career coach Nat returned to Twitter and also introduced me to the ideas of Simon Sinek, whose Start With Why site has much to interest anyone looking to underpin their online activities with solid and satisfying foundations.

Lost in emoji. Check out Emojitracker to see how the internet is feeling right this second as it tracks the use of emoji in real time. Anyone with photosensitive epilepsy might wish to proceed with caution though.

Lost your corkscrew? So, let me pass on a gift to you. Watch this video and never have to worry about misplacing that corkscrew ever again. Genius!

(via Open Culture. HT Greg aka Mr Rebecca Chance)

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Enda Guinan is a consultant and trainer offering advice on social media and product delivery for individuals and small businesses. Get in touch to see how you can make the best use of your time and energy as you put together your social media plans.

The Week in Social: FOMO, get out of Purgatory early, a very sticky MIT tool for Gmail and lots of actual good news

The Week In Social: Pet Shop Boys Electric, NOMO FOMO, Pontifex of TwitterAre you suffering from FOMO? Want to cut down your time in Purgatory? And a Gmail tool that will suck you in for hours. And lots of good news.

MIT’s fascinating Gmail visualization tool will delight/scare you. Have a Gmail account? Have several hours to kill? MIT’s Media Lab have developed a tool called Immersion that will allow you to view the history of your digital life. Enter your details and after some minutes, a delightful interactive graphic will appear showing you who you communicate most often with, who introduced you to who and how your email habits changed as people come and go in your life.

They say Immersion is “not about one thing. It’s about four. It’s about self-reflection, art, privacy and strategy. It’s about providing users with a number of different perspectives by leveraging on the fact that the web, and emails, are now an important part of our past”. I say, there goes the afternoon.

Do you suffer from FOMO? Are you one of the 27% of people who check their social media accounts first thing in the morning? Would you, like 26% of people, be prepared to give up cigarettes or TV rather than lose access to social networks? If so, you could be one of the 56% of people who suffer from Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO).

MyLife.com’s recent survey [infographic] suggests that social media addiction is creeping steadily upwards with over half of respondents expressing a desire to take a break from their online activities, but only 24% of those reporting that would be able to follow though.

Are you similarly overwhelmed? Funny or Die have a solution (click on the image).

Funny or Die NOMO FOMO

Follow Pope Francis @pontifex on Twitter and get time off in Purgatory. From the UK Independent: ‘Salvation – or at least a shorter stay in Purgatory – might now be only a tweet away with news that Pope Francis is to offer “indulgences” – remissions for temporary punishment – to the faithful who follow him on the social media site.’

No word on what an RT is worth. Perhaps it’s like a third class relic or something.

And in other happy news: The UK heatwave scorches onwards (but we will find things to grumble about anyway); Enigma codebreaker Alan Turing is to be pardoned; Equal Marriage finally arrived in England and Wales; and Pet Shop Boys have a glorious new album out (85% on Metacritic!).

Enjoy the sun!

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Enda Guinan is a consultant and trainer offering advice on social media and product delivery for individuals and small businesses. Get in touch to see how you can make the best use of your time and energy as you put together your social media plans.