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Social Media Portal interview with Gordon Young at The Golden Twits Awards

Staff (Social Media Portal) - 22 October 2009

Profiled - The Golden Twits - The UK's first Twitter Awards

An interview with Gordon Young director at The Golden Twits and publisher of media and marketing title The Drum

The Social Media Portal talks to Gordon Young about The UK's first Twitter awards, micro blogging and social media

Golden Twits logoSocial Media Portal (SMP): What is your role for The Golden Twits?

Gordon Young (GY): I’m publisher of media and marketing title The Drum and director of The Golden Twits Photograph of Gordon Young, publisher of medi and markeitng magazine The Drum

SMP: Briefly, tell us about The Golden Twits event, what is it and what are you striving to do?

GY: The event aims to celebrate the very best in Twittering and find out who uses Twitter the most effectively and creatively

SMP: What made you start The Golden Twits?

GY: Its increasing popularity and growing importance both in the realms of corporate branding and personal communication

SMP: What is the most challenging part of building the visibility of the event?

GY: The fact that the timescales are quite tight, deadline 22nd October and event 26th November.   We only really had a four week window where people could enter, so had to cover a lot of ground quickly.

SMP: Who are your target audience and why?

GY: I suppose we have three target audiences. Companies or organisations who are using Twitter to meet strategic communication objectives. Individuals who are keen to build personal profile. And the others who are simply engaged for the fun it.

SMP: What sort of guest speakers and/or entrants do you have and how does the day pan out?

GY: In terms of high profile guests a lot will depend on the nominations. We have a celebrity category for example and a lot will depend on who makes the final cut. In terms of entries we have everything from Meerkats to Dragons. The event itself will take the form of a classic award scheme in Fabric, London. Winners will be asked to keep their acceptance speeches to 140 characters.

SMP: How are you initially attract users to your event site and how do you do it leading up to the event (and after)?

GY: The lions share of activity has been based on Twitter itself. Everybody involved with the events, including the judges and those who are entering have been tweeting information our about the project. It has been very powerful. Within 30 minutes of the event being announced on Twitter we had over 10 entries. The following up will also be Twitter orientated – including a live Twitcam of the awards show itself. However, we are also using traditional PR to build profile in the traditional press.

SMP: What are the low moments of what you have been doing so far?

GY: To be honest there have not been any; but it is still very early days. Potential hurdles that lie ahead include a jury which refuses to give any awards or an emcee that criticises all the sponsors. We have run a few events in the past. One of the worst experiences was when a member of the audience tried to pick a fight, mid-show with Phil Jupitas, who was our emcee. But the most bizarre thing of all was that the member of the audience looked just like Jupitas; who said later it was a bit like having an argument with the shaving mirror.

SMP: What are the high moments of what you have been doing so far?

GY: Without a doubt the response. We are not expecting so many entries to come in so quickly. Within days we had hit the 100 mark.

SMP: What’s the next big step for social media / networks and why is micro blogging (including Twitter) important?

GY: Increased integration between the various social networking platforms and email is the trend that will continue to transform this sector. Micro-blogging its particularly seductive because it is so easy. Also there is a purity in learning to tell a story – or get across complex points – in 140 characters.

SMP: Is there more than just Twitter, what are the other contenders and why are they stealing more of the limelight?

GY: Obviously there are other contenders, but Twitter has taken the limelight so far because it has managed – partly through luck I suspect – to become the micro-blogging standard. Suspect it might disappear as quickly as it appeared however with the development of the likes of Facebook Lite and Google Wave.

SMP: What’s going to be the most interesting aspect regarding social media / technology throughout the rest of 2009 and then into 2010?

GY: It will be very interesting to see how Google Wave pans out. This has the potential to completely transform communication. People often ask me how long we will continue to print a paper magazine. Sometimes I wonder if our stand-alone website might be under more threat.

SMP: Now it is reported that we may be moving out of the global recession what do what impact do you think social media may have upon a business and events such as yours?

GY: I think traditional media owners will continue to struggle because their business model is broken. However, what new media allows small guys like us - who are not lumbered with traditional media assets like printing presses - to do is leverage our content and ideas globally. Irrespective of the general economic climate the new digital age offers those with good content, ideas or products more opportunity simply because they can get to more people more cost-effectively.

SMP: How does this fit into plans at The Golden Twits?

GY: The scheme is mainly attracting entries from the UK at the moment. But as its profile builds over the next few years there is no reason it will not become a global event.

SMP: Best way to contact you?

GY: By email at gordon.young at

Now some questions for fun

SMP: What did you have for breakfast?

GY: Porridge. I may like new media but I am a traditional Scotsman at heart.

SMP: What’s the last good thing that you did for someone?

GY: Just put a meeting in the diary to see how we can help the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice

SMP: How many hours to you work a week?

GY: As many as possible. I have three kids under five – who are great – but it means work is easer than play.

SMP: If you weren’t running The Golden Twits what would you be doing?

GY: Spending more time on my other favourite projects;  – an award scheme that celebrates scam advertising and an event which aims to indentify the most dismal place in Britain.

SMP: When and where did you go on your last holiday?

GY: Lake District for the October Week. Lovely spot. Anything but dismal.

SMP: What’s the first thing you do when you get into the office of a morning?

GY: Tea, Tweet and Facebook

SMP: If you had a superpower what would it be and why?

GY: America. Is there any other Superpower worth having?

The Golden Twits deadline for entry is Thursday, 22 October 2009. Enter here

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