What’s in a name?


I’ll be picking up a name badge this morning as I attend an event in London. It will have Paul Thomas – Senior Manager, Digital Communications and Social Media typed on it.


There are two sides to this post:

1) I need a new, shorter job title which doesn’t lead to confusion – my own usually.
2) Digital. Really?

To do my job, which spans Internal Communication, PR, Marketing and often grumpiness, I need something that says what I do on the tin.

I also have a problem with digital and social media.

Social media either excites people or leaves them running for cover. Those who run, will run even further when they see someone who has social media as a ‘thing to do’ in their job title gunning for them.

Digital. Well isn’t everything nowadays? Does it mean I don’t do analogue?

I think there’s a place for ‘online’ in here somewhere, maybe even a ‘web’. Perhaps I could just sneak up on people without a badge to announce me. A Minister Without Portfolio if you like.

What’s clear is that people doing jobs like mine are getting much more visibility within organisations and in a world that loves a monicker, a title isn’t as important as people understanding what you can do for them. This is far reaching, taking in BD, recruitment, etc etc. Digital and Social just don’t cut it and lead to misconception about what I can do for people within Grant Thornton.

Whether we like it or not, our label is our bat signal and either helps or hinders the conversation we’re about to have. So for the time being I’m going with Senior Manager, but less of the ‘old’ please.

Is ‘digital’ useful anymore?

Update: Et voila!



Spilling the beans – lessons from social media recruitment


Tomorrow morning I’m attending the latest Social Media Leadership Forum event in Moorgate to talk about social media recruitment at Grant Thornton.

3 years ago our trainee team gave over ownership of the entire recruitment programme to our trainees. The remit? If anyone knew what students wanted from businesses then these guys would.

A few months later (and not wanting to steal Richard Waite and Astrid Brown’s fire tomorrow) and the trainee blog ‘Spilling the beans’ was created which along with a Facebook page and several individual Twitter accounts, has been the foundation of Grant Thornton’s award winning recruitment ever since.

There have been great successes over the years and the team, which constantly changes with new graduate intakes, have become an example to the rest of our business in how they engage across different social media channels.

We used to look at what they were doing and say, well you’d expect that of graduates…wouldn’t you? But now we hold them up as a bold example of how to use social channels openly to have conversations and stimulate debate that gives a unique view into their world and the work they are doing at the firm.

We’re now seeing people in client facing and support roles talking about the firm, its brand and their own expertise through social media channels and as a firm, are creating an openness not usually associated with accountants and auditors.

As the trainees learn about our business, so others learn important lessons from them.

We may not spill every bean from behind the scenes at our firm, but we’ve embraced social media as a way to show our personality, our knowledge and the fact that now is a really good time to be working with us.

2012 album Top Ten and 2013 resolutions


House That Heaven Built video

Late to the table with this but as many will know, I kinda take these things seriously!

I’m not ordering all of these albums because I’m not sure there has been one clear choice all year. I’ve been quite obsessive about a lot of albums over the last twelve months, but many of them have fallen by the wayside so this list is made up of those I’ve come back to time and time again.

1. Japandroids – Celebration Rock
2. The Walkmen – Heaven
3. Father John Misty – Fear Fun
4. Grimes – Visions
5. Matthew E. White – Big Inner
6. Grizzly Bear – Shields
7. Divine Fits – A Thing Called Divine Fits
8. The Men – Open Your Heart
9. Woods – Bend Beyond
10. Beach House – Bloom, Sharon Van Etten – Tramp, Calexico – Algiers, Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan

OK so I’ve cheated, but those last four are pretty good all said.

I’m not sure it’s been a better year than 2011 but it’s certainly been a year for ‘back to basics’ guitar, bass and drums which is why Japandroids stands out from the rest. Just a joyous, celebratory album from start to finish…as the title suggests.

New Year resolutions? Get better at blogging more often. Might even get that book idea started. And Pilates. The Alexander Technique stuff is doing wonders, but in 2013 I don’t plan any more disc slips! And to aid in that, less time behind a desk and more time having conversations. Email as a last resort rather than first stop.

Happy 2013.