A Business Case for Social Media – aka Real Life

Last week I turned up the wick and really focussed on developing connections into relationships. LinkedIn, blogging, Twitter, Facebook, yadda yadda. I love ’em. Great places for making connections. And then comes the privilege of reinforcing interesting online connections into real, handshakey, conversationy, bike ridey relationships. If you would like to read on, this is the story of a journey into, and out of social media and real life. Or if you prefer, it’s a business case, demonstrating a bountiful return on our investment.


The week started with Alan Whitford interviewing me for his thought leader series of conversations over at RCEuro.com

I met Alan at the recent ConnectingHR Unconference. He’s an encouraging guy and asks good questions. We had a good conversation about fear, honesty, integrity and The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. If you are familiar with me then I’m not sure the interview will reveal anything you don’t already know (Alan refers to my “open kimono” style whilst we’re speaking – which means I’m rubbish at keeping secrets!). If you’re new around here you might want to invest ten minutes and take a look. I’m grateful to Alan for taking the time to make this happen. Alan then kindly invited me to join a panel discussion on social media and employee engagement at the upcoming Social Recruiting Conference. The panel is chaired by Jon Ingham and Charlie Duff will be there too so it promises to be lively.


I met Sarah Matthews for lunch. I first met Sarah at the recent ConnectingHR Unconference (huh, didn’t I just write something….). We had an enjoyable and useful conversation about creating value. Not profit, value. We chatted about how closely linked HR and branding are, how it seems to be that the more people skills people (all people, not just HR – I hate it when I hear folk say “people, that’s HR’s job”. Time to resign) have in organisations, the better the organisations are and will be. And we talked about less concentrating more doing, which prompted us to order lunch. A great conversation, thanks Sarah.

And then I dashed off to help make “Is Bad Behaviour Killing Big Business Live” – come to life. I think it worked.


I met Flora Marriott and some of her colleagues at Yell Adworks. I first met Flora at the recent ConnectingHR Unconference (groundhog day post?). They do stuff at Yell Adworks. Quickly and effectively. A fantastic example of action, inspiration, flow and productivity. I was left breathless by the pace, the action, the subtle visible leadership.

I journeyed on to meet with Jonathan Wilson. I’ve known Jonathan for many years and am proud to call him a friend an associate. We got together at Friends Meeting House near Euston. A wonderful venue for a more leisurely meeting. Good coffee, free wi-fi. Recommmended venue.


I attended the inaugural London HR at the Table. There I met Vandy and Katherine. Two people who fill me with optimism and creativity. I also met Claire Walsh again. I first met Claire at the recent ConnectingHR Unconference (you’re kidding me right? No – it’s true). I learned that Claire has more ideas in a lunch break than I have in a week! It’s always exciting to be at the start of something interesting. Thanks folks.


I wrote a song about writer’s block for Callum Saunders (yeah, I first met him at ConnectingHR etc etc)

I took my daughter Keira to ballet class


I enjoyed a lovely bicycle ride with two good friends, Marky Mark, and Lord Ingram. I enjoy cycling and yet since my off eighteen months ago I’ve lost my bottle. If you want to learn more about that, feel free to watch the dodgy rap video my daughter and I recorded to mark the occasion. Where previously I used to enjoy blatting along dual carriageways time trialling at speeds (sometimes) in excess of 40mph, I now crawl timidly along the lanes and byways. I get scared every time I ride, and I keep going back for more and getting a teeny bit less scared (well most days at least). I’m encouraged by the support from my clubmates.

In the evening I joined more friends from the world of cycling for dinner to help celebrate a birthday. Most, if not all of my cycling fun is arranged online first.


Spent a lovely day with Carole and Keira, and then went with them to enjoy a 21st birthday party.


I have been privileged to be in the moment many times recently. Flow is hard work, and enormously rewarding. And it beats the crap out of work life balance every time.

Return on Investment

Folk often ask me, so where’s the return on your social media investment? Return means different things to different people so all I will say is there is a lot of value being created by the interesting people I meet who motivate and inspire me. And if that ain’t a good enough business case, well tough luck buddy – we approved it at our last board meeting and we’re doing it. Now.