Facebook Masters Guild 2013

Facebook Masters Guild 2013

I’d never heard of the FMG (Facebook Masters Guild) until the email arrived, but come to think about it I’d never really had anything to do with Facebook until my daughter decided to go to Australia solo last year! I figured the only way to know she was safe and enjoying it was to follow her antics on Facebook, with her permission of course (a dangerous thing for a father to do!)

I learnt a trick or two over in Dublin watching the media savvy Dave Ayton (Mr Awesome Dublin) spinning his web of enthusiasm over Ireland. Before AWCC Dublin was finished I’d found a building in Sheffield and set up the AWCC Sheffield Facebook page. Without the chaperone of Mr Ayton monitoring my every click I tentatively started to post. Getting ‘Likes’ on your Facebook page is like getting the thumbs up off people that they ‘Like’ your page.

Winning people over and gaining their trust is a hard thing to do and there’s a fine line from being enthusiastic to being a cock-sure outsider! The line was mine to walk…

Now I’m sat here after 12 months of Facebook marketing with a line of interviews lined up for me to attend should I choose to accept. As I’m not really that socially involved with the outside world many of the names were alien to me, one or two I admittedly knew- Parkinson, Paxman but who the hell was Zuckerberg?

Now my strategy was simple just go from the heart to the heart. Post honest interesting material with a slight dusting of humour and see what happens. It’s now been explained to me that it’s not all about the ‘Likes’ that you have (apparently you can buy ‘Likes’ on Facebook for very little money) on Facebook it’s about the interaction that your fans have with your site! I look at the figures and statistics as well as the next keen person but as busy as I am there’s two things that I notice- Green is good and Red is not as good (always keeping a positive here). When I see green more often than red I’m happy and keep posting onwards.

I hear footsteps coming down the hall and towards the office but I’m too slow, caught in the act, I feel like I’ve been looking at something seedy. The words come out- ‘Are you on that bloody Facebook AGAIN?’ I’m shaken out of my day dream with no where to hide. Guilty as found with no worthy retort.

It was a self flattering day dream though…facebook-2

Early Ramblings

From thinking the unthinkable 12 months ago I’ve gone and done it again, Awesome Walls Sheffield is now open and ready for action! How on earth did all this begin?

I opened The Climbing House in Liverpool 1999 against the odds and thought life couldn’t be more stressful. The local council had backed me, given me money, a slap on the back with a wink that the planning application would sail through- NO, deferred it was, the planners deemed it necessary to do a site visit before they could make their minds up if a unit that had been stood empty for 5 years could be turned into a climbing centre that would employ 5 people and possibly turn into something larger!

The big day came and I stood alone in the empty unit armed with enlarged pictures, a 5 page presentation and a speech fit to make the queen proud. I waited and waited, mobiles phones were newish but not quite Star Trek. I checked my brick very 5 minutes but to no avail.

 I’d boiled the kettle, lined the cups up, placed the milk into a nice jug, moved the handles towards the door, removed the spider from the window and eventually 2.5 hours after the agreed rendezvous a bus pulled up outside the unit. My heart skipped a beat, this was it, my life depended on this, already feeling a failure I needed to prove to myself than I could turn my life around and help other people in the process.

 25 bound documents in my arms ready to convince the Council of Sefton that I meant business, I stood tall, took a deep breath and watched eagerly as one party member departed the bus and headed towards my door. A quick tie straiten and ‘BAM’ the door opens I thrust my hand out to welcome the person that’s about to introduce the council delegates on the bus to me and…… the words fall out like soggy lettuce “the council representatives don’t deem it necessary to alight the bus Mr ……….. Douglas”. Let’s just say that I practiced a little bit of restraint and passed the documents onto this bearer of ? and kindly asked him to hand them out to the cautious council sat on their warm dry bus.

After the bus departed my mixed emotions ran wild. I didn’t know whether to run amok or curl up and cry. For the last six months I’d put everything on the line to prove to myself that I wasn’t a failure that I thought my little girl was going to grow up thinking I was. This was my chance to prove to a few people that I could make a difference and in return my life would turn around and I could go forth and stand proud again.