Friday, May 22, 2009

Beautiful Mind : Graeme Cowan

I came across Graeme in a bizarre manner. It’s another example of what the internet has made us; I love to call it “the neighbour effect”. I’ll not get into that story because here I intend to talk about another Beautiful Mind who became an online acquaintance of mine a few days back, Graeme Cowan.

He is a survivor, an author and a life mentor. I found his story very interesting and inspiring and immediately wanted to interview him for the blog. He obliged and I am really thankful to him for that. Graeme had a history of depression bouts and the last one which lasted from 2000 – 2005 was the worst one which even his psychiatrist acknowledges as one of the most difficult cases he had ever treated. But, he came back from the brink and since then he has tried to make an impact on all the depression ridden people in Australia with the help of his books, BACK FROM THE BRINK and BACK FROM THE BRINK TOO. In the interview I learnt from him about his plans to take the book and his endeavours outside Australia and reach out to millions of depression sufferers around the world. His long struggle against the world’s 2nd most fatally consequential disease prompted him to write these books which comprises of more than 250 interviews with people from different strata’s of life who have all gone through the anguish of depression and how they overcame it. These stories are possibly the best medicines to recover from depression. As Graeme puts it, stories of such people who overcame depression made him get better with every such interview.

His plans to take the books outside of Australia are what keeps him busy these days. I discussed with him, his plans which includes a trip to the US later this month. He hopes to find a publisher in the US so that the books are available in the US, by the end of this year. He would be visiting New York for the Book Expo America and signing copies of his books. Catch up with him there if you want to. He would also be meeting my friends in Chicago who would try to help him with his fine efforts. Interestingly, he has tried a lot of ways to promote himself and the books he wrote via his website and visual media interactions in Australia, but he is yet to start-up a whole hearted social media attempt for promotion. I was particularly interested to know what kept him away and he reaffirmed the issues like lack of time and staff to manage a social media campaign as the primary concerns. It was a very interesting chat with him where he could foresee the effects of social media and I too was thrilled to help him. You can get in touch with Graeme by mailing him at and on Twitter @DepressionCure.

This is a very precise interview that Graeme gave to the show, Wake Up ! WA

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Beautiful Minds - Social Media : Wayne Mansfiled

picture from Google Images

Today, I got a chance to speak with Wayne Mansfield from Perth, Western Australia and it was great to know more about his ideas on internet marketing and social media in particular. He is a pioneer in email marketing since 1997 and has tried all the tricks to capture the attention of a regular netizen and convert them into business prospects. The concepts he shared were valuable and can be used by most non-profits around the world to gather a larger reach; and use their own smart ideas to convert that reach into donations.

Here are the excerpts from the 26 minute long interview.

aweblander: Thanks, for agreeing for this interview Wayne. Let me begin with your definition of social media.

waynemansfield: Well, social media constitutes of what we know as twitter, facebook, linkedin, youtube, myspace, blogs and all that. It is quicker and easier to build a personal one on one relationship with these tools than with the traditional internet marketing tool – the email. Social media works well for people interested in conversations and can be used in a very smart way to market a brand or product.

aweblander: Since you mentioned email marketing and you have such vast experience in that field, how do you see the impact of social media when compared to email marketing?

waynemansfield: I have been a involved with internet marketing for the last 15 years and with my experiences I can say that email is and will be the most strong tool for marketing on the internet. So, social media with all its good virtues will have to inflate the email databases of a prospective marketer. Social media’s impact has been huge and in the last few years. twitter, linkedin and youtube has helped me to reach out to about 25 million users online. I have 56,000 followers on twitter which helps me to reach out to 7 million users and my 6,500 level - 1 contacts on linkedin fetched me visibility to more than 18 million users. Also, our videos uploaded on youtube have an average of 30,000 views on a 24 hour basis. So, as you can see the numbers are incredible and social media with its wings of viral marketing can really make it big for an internet marketer.

aweblander: Where do you see social media 5 years from now?

waynemansfield: Ow!! it certainly has a long way to go. It can be really valuable if used smartly and restrictively. If you have followed my work on facebook or twitter, you can probably understand what I mean. Friendships are one thing and business another. Social media with its personal touch could help one to create an online influence which could also help to grow opportunities from a business perspective. So , yes depending upon how it is used I do believe that social media will flourish in the coming 5 years.

aweblander: Coming back to non-profits, if you had an opportunity to raise funds for a non-profit via social media, how would you be doing that?

waynemansfield: I do donate to and help other entrepreneurs to revive themselves. Incidentally, I got to know Kiva from a Canadian friend of mine called Mike whom I had met online as well. Also, we have a charity of our own that funds the education of children from sick households who could not complete their education due to various issues .And we had major success with social media in raising funds for them. What we do basically, is have different identities on social media websites and share stories about these students. A recent graduation party that we attended for Corridors College was mentioned on twitter and facebook and it brought in a lot of attention from the online folks.

aweblander: This would be my penultimate question. Is it difficult to manage a social media campaign given the amount of activities involved and its interactive nature? I mean email marketing is one way traffic where one would not be flooded with instant replies, whereas social media thrives on immediate response. How do you think this can be tackled without a huge support staff?

waynemansfield: Its true that managing social media is tough and that’s why objectives have to be very clear. I limit my twitter usage for half an hour before the start of work everyday and half an hour before I end and that’s usually is enough for me to keep the network buzzing. But for a campaign where one has to write a blog and post videos on youtube and microblog all of them via twitter and facebook, it becomes really difficult to manage all that. I use tools like tweetdeck and friendfeed which helps to manage these social media activities from one dashboard. Infact, I would recommend tweetdeck highly because with the upgrades they did last week, now one can also update their facebook accounts from there as well as follow their facebook friends. Our developers have been working on a dashboard to pull in data from the social media websites and help manage the activities. So, to answer your question, it is indeed difficult to manage social media but certainly some tools are there online to help you do that.

aweblander: And finally Wayne, would you like to share your social media contact ids with us.

waynemansfield: Yes of course. I am not personally involved on facebook, its more of a corporate account. However on twitter and linkedin I am waynemansfield. And our newsletter portal – The Maverick Spirit, which is very popular all over this part of the world is This is my way of remembering the registration number of my first car. You can also get access to my active blog @ Confessions from a Boy from Margaret River.

aweblander: Wayne, thanks so much for your time and thoughts. It was wonderful to know so much from you.

waynemansfield: no problem. Let me know when you get this posted. Bye.

My lesson from this interview was that skypecap records video sans the sound for skype 3.8.0. So, I ended up recording a mute interview of Wayne from skype. And you all are missing all the good words he spoke about my questions ;-). But, it was good that I was noting down his views as well. Sorry about it Wayne. But, thanks a lot again for taking out the time.