Grooming Guru makes PinkNews.co.uk’s most influential LGBT Twitter users of 2011 list

Hello and welcome to the first of my posts for 2012. It’s been a while since I posted last (I was taking a few weeks off to consume Maltesers and Licorice Allsorts) but the year certainly ended on a high with news that Grooming_Guru (my Twitter alias) made PinkNews.co.uk‘s most influential LGBT Twitter users of 2011 list.

Nestling at No. 31 I’m extremely flattered and honoured to be included. Mind you, not everyone is as impressed. One critic of the list publically describes those of us on it as as nothing more than a bunch of ‘mouthy twats’. This clearly cannot be true. I know this for a fact because if it was I would most definitely have cracked the Top 10.

To follow me on Twitter click here

Grill the guru at the Handpicked Media Gets Social conference!

The thing I love about about blogging (and Tweeting too actually) is that it makes me feel part of a community in away that working in magazines never did. It’s generally less competitive, less territorial and there’s a fluid exchange of thoughts, opinions and ideas. In that spirit I’m pleased to say I will we taking part in the Handpicked Media Gets Social event at RIBA in London on November 21st.

A day-long interactive blogging event, it’s a place for  bloggers to meet, mingle and discover how to develop and enhance their blogs, build on their successes and pick up a few tips on how to interact with (and occasionally fend off!) PRs, drive traffic to their sites and deal with the ever-changing blogging landscape. There’ll be luxury goody bags on offer too, of course, and there’s the chance to meet some of the biggest brands and bloggers in the business! And me.

I’ll be appearing on the Beauty Panel, along with Fluer de Force, The Beauty Button and A Beauty Junkie in London, and will be providing an insight into the male grooming side of the industry and a male perspective on proceedings. I don’t bite (well, only when excited) so if you fancy giving me a grilling do come a long!

For more info, and to book your place click here.

Of ex-friends and unfollowers

I love Twitter. I really do. I love the absurdity of it all. The fact that sometimes you actually miss key plot developments in Doctor Who because you’re too busy tweeting about  Karen Gillan’s hair. But I’ve also made some great friends on Twitter, meeting up with them after months of tweeting and being delighted that they’re just as I expected – only with skin and a pulse.

There are downsides of course. There are the occasional Twitterspats, the misconstrued comments and the nut-job stalkers. Then there’s the emotional roller-coaster of The Unflowers (which does itself like something from Doctor Who right?).

Foolishly, I use an application to unmask mine and it pulls no punches, referring to followers I’ve had a relationship with but lost as Ex-Friends (the rest, including spambots and suspended users, it simply describes as Unfollowers).

To date, my Ex-friends have included a famous singer (it’s a long story but let’s just say I kind of deserved it); a colleague I worked with years ago who is now a leading light in the fashion world (I was once her boss but suspect it wasn’t a long-held grudge about a pay-rise that triggered the divorce but my critical asides about London Fashion Week); a powerful figure in the male grooming industry who unfollowed me not once but twice; a PR agency I deal with regularly (their loss) and two high profile beauty editors. One happens to be someone I know and rather like, which is a shame, and the other is someone whose patronage I would never have expected anyway – and as it turned out never got beyond two and a half weeks.

People’s reasons for dumping you are varied of course. Sometimes it’s simply because you tweet to much or too little (you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t when it comes to Twitter, trust me). Or perhaps they love it when you talk about your specialised subject but not when you veer, as one might in real life, off the subject of moisturiser and onto such topics as politics, pets or Tulisa’s bristly armpits. Some simply unfollow you because you don’t follow them back but such needy types you can do without anyway.

As anyone who tracks their unfollowers will know, each loss hurts a little. You wonder what it was you said or did to make them hate you. Invariably you never find out. Even when you do ask (and trust me I’ve inquired for the sheer joyous hell of it) all you get is ridiculous red-faced excuses about ‘rationalising timelines’ or similar disingenuous nonsense.

I’m telling you all this for a reason, especially if you use Twitter in a professional capacity, because just as following has its benefits un-following has its drawbacks. Social Media is not like real life. It operates by different rules. In real life, a friend can go off you and you may never know why. They can delete your number from their mobile or cross you off their Christmas card list without you ever finding out. But with Twitter you can see that rejection in action and on a very basic level it can damage the relationship you have with people. If you use Twitter for any sort of professional gain (to gain influence or promote your brand for example) this is a real minefield, with obvious consequences. I mean, if you prick me do I not bleed?

Mind you, things could be worse. I was discussing this very subject with a Twitter pal of mine the other day and she told me she discovered her own brother had unfollowed her! As an only child, at least I don’t run that risk. But I swear, if Boy George ever unfollows me on Twitter I will cry. For days.

Want a Paul Smith Bunny? Then hop to it!

Ain’t he cute? Well, right now this little fella comes free with a 50ml or 100ml purchase of any Paul Smith fragrance – men’s or women’s – exclusively from Boots. Then, from 5th April, you can pick him up with a Paul Smith fragrance purchase from department stores nationwide, while stocks last. So if you want to get  your mitts on one you’d better hop to it!

P.S You can even follow him on Twitter here. If you’ve have a mind to you can follow me too – just click  here!

Gillette vs King Of Shaves: war of the words

The other day an absolutely riveting little contretemps erupted on Twitter between Will King, King of Shaves supremo and a member of staff from Porter Novelli, a company that represents arch-rival Gillette. A wonderful Twitter bitchfest (who says men aren’t catty?) it was an example of macho posturing and feather fluffing at its absolute best and an example of how febrile the current ‘Blade Wars’ have become of late.

Will King, I suspect, rather fancies himself as leader of The Rebel Alliance squaring up to Gillette’s evil Empire (his Azor razor being a X-Wing fighter pitted against Gillette’s mighty Tie Fighter Fusion). And in typical insurgent fashion, the King of Shaves founder  isn’t one to miss an opportunity to take a pop at his opponent. This particular digital duel (how terribly modern?) ensued after the Thierry Henry handball debacle, with King tweeting:

@kingofshaves Gillette stick with Henry.  Many others not sticking with Gillette, but going to King of Shaves, Azor. Good!

Provoked by such shocking schadenfreude the person from Porter Novelli (who I suspect innocently thought he was sticking up for one of his clients) chipped in with …

@charliedm Well done for turning the misfortune and misery of as entire nation into a publicity drive. That’s not at all cheap”.

Now, I must say, I’m on the side of the Empire here. As someone who’s on Twitter myself and who follows Will’s tweets religiously I have to admit he is rather provocative. In fact, he’s like the Simon Cowell of Social Media – annoying beyond belief but utterly compulsive at the same time. Not even Katie Price can top him when it comes to blatant opportunism and self-promotion. But then, I don’t suppose you get where he has by hiding your light under a bushel (or your blade under a shaving brush) and as I said, it’s so shameless you can’t help but love it. In fact, of all the people I follow he’s one of my favourites. But I digress… back on the frontline, the war of words was escalating ….

@kingofshaves “Don’t Porter Novelli look after Gillette’s PR…?”

@charliedm “It’s great for the kind of razor you might get in a Christmas cracker…

Sorry, but I did laugh at this. It must have stung Will, too, because….

@kingofshaves “Um, you would say that given you handle Gillette’s PR. The King of Shaves Azor is a GREAT razor

All credit to Will here – to bitch and product place at the same time is no mean feat.

@kingofshaves “Surprised that as chief strategist you make such a negative, public comment. wait until you see our october sales – bit worried?

Now, with all due respect this is a wee bit naughty of Will given that he could probably teach The Republican Party a thing or two about negative campaigning (and even they’d be coy about some of his tactics). Anyway, clearly offended, The Empire struck back with this….

@charliedm “Does a lion find a dormouse worrying? Anyway, this isn’t work – this is jousting”

Good jibe but I know Will and  there’s nothing he likes more than the David and Goliath/Tortoise and Hare/Jordan and Jodie Marsh comparison so this was a red rag to a bull. In fact, at this point things had got so silly I was seriously expecting “Well, your mum stinks!” to be used as a line of attack. But no, a business history lesson was lobbed in to the battlefield and a gauntlet thrown down…

@kingofshaves “BA used to think that way. And learned the hard way. Joust away, my friend”.

@charliedm “Interesting. That’s just the kind of thing XL Airways used to say…”

As always happens in public brawls, it was now time for some annoying busy body to chip in with their two penneth worth …

@shedmenshealth  Playground bitching on twitter? :o/ Charlie,consumers can read!  You should know better in PR. Will, stay strong fella!

Then it was time for the obligatory voyeur…

@peterdean1 “*enjoying* @kingofshaves tweet jousting with Gillette PR’s > @charliedm.

Sensing that they were now being watched by a baying crowd (or perhaps just realising that they had work to do) both parties withdrew from the fight, with the poor fella from Porter Novelli probably wishing  he’d have Tweeted about I’m a Celebrity instead, attemped to diffuse the situation by saying he thought they were all just having a bit of fun (which is a bit like Darth Vader saying he only thought The Death Star would cause minor damage).  But that’s just as well really because who knows what might have been said in the heat of the moment?

So what happened next? Well, later on the MD of Porter Novelli, issued an apology to King (which was duly Tweeted of course) stating that criticising the competitor’s products was in violation of  their company’s Social Media policies and was the agency’s – not the client’s – responsibility. In other words it was an apology to Gillette as much as it was to King of Shaves.

You may see this as a victory for King. Personally I do not. At least Porter Novelli explicitly oppose rival-knocking. The whole King of Shaves Azor campaign, on the other hand, has been based upon it. I’m not judging the merits of negative campaigning (it’s a staple technique in politics after all and is a strategy that has so far worked in increasing the Azor’s market share) nor am I going to come out and say who was right and who was wrong in the row over razors.

What I will do though, is draw everyone’s attention to the obvious dangers of such public spats (seemingly the whole incident will be immortalized as part of Porter Novelli Social Media training now). It’s all too easy to get carried away when you’re tweeting and to forget that rowing with someone on Twitter is the equivalent of having a slanging match in the street. That’s all very well if you’re Gail and Eileen from Corrie but just isn’t dignified if you’re professional, responsible grown-up men. Frankly, nobody comes out a winner. So come on guys – from now on play nice, okay? If you don’t I’m gonna send my friend Boba Fett round to kick  your butts.

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