Tuesday, 2 October 2012

To Tweet, Or Not To Tweet? That Is The Question!

I don’t know how many of you recently read Mr Briggs’ blog post (realaleupnorth.blogspot.com) about how CAMRA, having 140,000 members, should easily be able to get 100,000 signatures on the government e-petition website to force parliament to debate the beer duty escalator.

Whether or not the government actually do something once it’s been debated is another issue entirely. I’m guessing that they will do about as much as Cyril Smith did for hand-gliding.

Anyway, I’ve had a sneaky peek today and the current number of signatures stands at nearly 96,000. So hopefully it will achieve its target very shortly.

However, this all raises a very interesting point regarding the use of computers. Love them or hate them they are here to stay. I have always had a passion for computers ever since I got a ZX Spectrum 48k with rubber keys at Christmas in 1983. Hands up all those who remember playing Manic Miner with “In The Hall of the Mountain King” from Peer Gynt looping over and over in the background. There must be some of you??
Nevertheless computers are used nearly every day by all of us in one form or another & with the birth of the internet, thanks to Sir Tim Berners-Lee, they can all connect to one another in a glorious world wide web of wondrous knowledge.

Back in the year 2000 I was working at The Ram Inn, Cliviger near Burnley. We had been approached by a guy who was building a “dining out guide” website for the local area. I loved the idea so much I started helping him. Unfortunately we had to fund the site ourselves. The Ram was a managed house and we had asked the powers that be if we could build our website. Their response was “why does a pub need a website”. I wonder if they were related to Charles Holland Duell, who was US Commissioner of Patents who famously said in around 1901 “everything that can be invented has been invented”
I could see the benefits of having a website even if they couldn’t. Customers could view our menu & wine list, they could read a bit about the history, but most importantly they could marvel at the 1MB digital photographs and they could do this in the comfort of their own home when planning on where to go at the weekend!
Looking at the site now (Yes it’s still there. If anyone wants a link just contact me and I’ll send you one) it’s rather dated. But the principal is exactly the same today. It’s about getting your offer out to as many people as possible for as little cost as possible as well as having a cutting edge on your competitors and trying to stay one step ahead of them.

Social media is the current king of the internet, especially Twitter with millions of daily users.

For those of you who don’t know, Twitter is a microblogging (small writing) service that enables its users to send and read text based messages of up to 140 characters. That is it, pure and simple. You write something in less than 140 characters and post it on the internet for everyone who “follows” you to read. Imagine a small one column inch story in a newspaper, but instantly out there for you to read.

I first heard of tweeting about 5 years ago. I couldn’t see how it could be helpful to the pub game. However this opinion quickly changed when we realised that you could get your offer out to thousands of potential customers easily, instantly and more importantly for no cost.

Twitter is the fastest way to get news stories. They appear even before you see them as “breaking news” on the TV. Who’d have thought that would be possible 10 years ago!

So don’t be a Luddite, get online and sign the e-petition, then join twitter and get tweeting cos that’s what people do in my day! Who knows what they’ll be doing in the not too distant future, hopefully not paying as much tax on their pints!

September 2012

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