M A T T C H U R C H I L L
What do you do?
“I do social media because I’m fascinated by how people interact, especially online. I moved from PR because it was simply just selling a product or an idea to a journalist in order for them to write about it to drive a sale. Basically I try to help brands connect with people in a way that the people want to be connected with.”
“With the stuff I do in social media, it varies; I get to train some of the world’s largest companies in how to listen to what people are saying and how they can contribute to those conversations, I get to write content for huge companies about the CSR initiatives they’re doing and see communities react positively, and I also get to know secret stuff about certain companies that will never see the light of day!
To be totally weird about it, it’s quite voyeuristic; I can type something into a box on Facebook, and then see how people react. Or I can say something down the phone and have all these important people high up in big companies listen to everything I say and they change their businesses. It’s quite subversive really; I’m basically changing how whole companies operate just by getting them to think about the Internet in the same way as I do.”
How do I get as good as you?
“Read. I can’t emphasise it enough. Read as many blogs and as much news about whatever topic it is you’re interested, or think you’re interested in, as possible. What’s more, share it and try to get people to talk about it, If you can start positioning yourself as a person that finds interesting stuff and had an opinion on it, you’ll soon find yourself getting noticed. If you don’t have an opinion about something, that you think you should have an opinion about, read different articles about the same thing and pick the best bits.
It’s basically like re-mixing a track: you have all these sounds that have been put together by different people to make a song. It’s your job to work out which bits you like and don’t like and then add your own twist. (See also Culture Jamming: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_jamming http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/07/10/culture-jamming-images-50-best_n_1662351.html)
You can never know too much or too many people. At work I try to play the ‘geezer’, ‘everybody is a mate’ role. It makes me stand out, gives people a good impression of me and it makes people notice when you aren’t around which is invaluable.
If you are seen as irreplaceable, you’ll be set in your job for as long as you want to be – you can then decide what you want to do and not be dictated to by the people you work for.
As an addendum:
Three books I implore you to buy, they really really helped to shape my thinking…
http://www.amazon.co.uk/books/dp/0547386079 (please note, this book is very controversial as it’s author stole elements of work from others & lied about some of the content: http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/183298/jonah-lehrer-accused-of-fabricating-bob-dylan-quotes-in-imagine/ / http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/185540/another-source-claims-jonah-lehrer-fabrication-imagine/ but, if you’ve read the blurb about the the previous two books and take the fact that Poynter is a bit self-serving, you’ll see why I think it’s an important book)
Also, some blogs to read:
Matt is the author of ‘Seldom Seen Kid‘, a blog about digital culture. He currently works at Edelman Digital and somehow finds the time to blog for The Huffington Post, Culture Deluxe and Zath. He is also a talented songwriter, whose work can be found on the Matt Churchill Bandcamp page.