Misc

May 14 2012

Update on Saskia’s Kitty

Wow. That’s all that I can say.

I’m totally overwhelmed by all of the support that I’ve received from everyone to help Saskia save her kitty, Taffy. Together we raised over £750 in just a few days, more than I ever could have imagined.

The vets have agreed to do the surgery for a reduced price and Saskia’s family have managed to raise the rest of the funds, so Taffy will be having the surgery tomorrow to save her poorly leg.

Words can’t tell you how grateful myself, Saskia and Taffy are to everybody for your generous support. You guys just proved how much you rawk.

Big love,

M xox

May 9 2012

Please help Saskia’s kitty…

Let me start by saying that asking for help is never something that I’d ever do on my blog. I love you guys, I want to bring you funny (hopefully) content that keeps you amused.

However, you will also know how much I love cats. Yes, I have been called “Cat Lady” once or twice. Sadly my friend Saskia’s cat, Taffy, fell from the third floor of an apartment building last week. Having rushed him to the vets, he has a temporary cast but needs surgery. Poor tyke.

Then came the news that the surgery is going to cost £2,500 (expensive kitty, tsk!) and Taffy isn’t insured. Having contacted the RSPCA and PDSA, Saskia’s been told that as she isn’t on benefits, there’s nothing that they can do to help poor Taffy. Saskia is now forced with the awful realisation that she may have give him up to the RSPCA as she simply can’t afford the surgery.

This is where Cat Lady Mel comes in. I’m on a one woman mission to help save Taffy. I know how I’d be feeling if heaven forbid it was Hugo or Smudgie. Heartbroken. If you can find it in your hearts and can afford to donate just a couple of pounds, please let’s pull together and help save Taffy. I’d be eternally grateful. You can use the donate button on the righthand side of my blog. Oh and if you want to help spread the word, I guess we’d better start a hashtag too… #SaveTaffy.

Much love and keep your kitties safe.

M xox

UPDATE: The vets have contacted Saskia to say that they’ll now do the surgery for £1,000 so we’re almost there. Thank you so much for all of your support, it’s been completely overwhelming.

Apr 17 2012

Special fwends…

I have two apologies to make, the first for not updating in such a long while and the second for being obscenely medicated (legally) whilst writing this.

Almost a year ago I moved to London. I hated it. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the drinks after work on a Friday evening and I got a real sense of pride walking into my office every morning, knowing we were making great stuff happen. But there were all of the other bits, like not walking down the street and bumping into people you know. Like having grown men try and tug you from trains so that they don’t have to wait 3 minutes for the next. Like the fact that nobody looks at one another on the tube for at least 4 stops. I was lonely. In a city of millions, I was incredibly lonely.

But somewhere in that hazy period, something very strange happened and I fell in love with London. I’ve never felt more blessed with friends. I genuinely don’t know when it happened or how it came about but I know precisely when I realised. I had this realisation last Thursday evening as I returned to the hospital ward after emergency surgery to find my roomie (who is petrified of hospitals) sat next to my bed after waiting a torturous 4 hours for me to return from surgery whilst constantly updating my family with news.

What’s more my phone had died (thanks iPhone 4S). As soon as I was able to charge it again, I could see the kerfuffle that had taken place on Twitter as my friends tried to establish which hospital I was in. Friends that had never met one another were now chatting from all over the country to keep up to date with my progress.

The evening that I returned home, two of my best friends came around stock piled with goodies, cuddled me as I cried and didn’t even mention that I should probably wash my hair and apply some foundation. When I told them not to visit, they visited anyway. True friends.

I’ve had countless tweets, texts and emails from amazing people, for each of which I’m incredibly grateful. I wanted to write this post to say a huge thank you. It’s the people that make the place and I now can’t think of anywhere that I’d rather be. For whatever challenges my health may throw at me, I know that it’s offset with amazing acts of kindness from friends near and far.

As soon as I’m better, I’m planning to host a get together in London, where I can hopefully get lots of those special people all in one room together. What an amazing evening that’ll be.

M xox

A special thank you…

Tarry – for waiting by my hospital bed with sweaty palms
Fran – for force feeding me and for amazing cuddles
Gem – for being my little rock any time of the day
Bex – for being there in spirit and even threatening to get on a train even with baby bump!
JJ – for listening to my rants when she has woes of your own
Mills – for feeling like a lifelong friend after only a short while
Ant – for making me laugh
Martin – for always being lovely
My Jammers – for being so supportive and for making me proud every day
Mum – for listening to my teary calls & putting up with me

Apr 4 2011

Flirting my way through an MOT

So today is the fateful day… my car has gone in for an MOT. Having needed to drop off my car so early to the garage, I had to post the keys with a letter. I thought I’d use this opportunity to assist in any way possible…

 

Today, I’d be grateful if you hope and pray for Bugsy. Bugsy Mel owns… see what I did there? Oh, never mind…

M xox

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 26 2011

Welcome. Welcome.

Hey hey! Welcome. So what do you think? That’s right, Randommel has been re-designed which means more new content, yay for that.

As you may have read in my previous post, whilst I loved the old design, it was designed some 3 years ago and a lot has changed since then. It’s not that I’m planning to go all formal and start working for a bank, wear grey and my hair in a tight bun, but I did want something that gave me the flexibility to write some more without the swirls getting in the way.

So that’s me, here it is. A hugenormous thank you to Christina Fowler for helping with the re-design, I can honestly say that it’s been a joy to work with her and highly recommend her to anyone.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the new site, so feel free to try out the new comments box, woot! Please bear with me as I’m in the middle of updating some of the pages, such as the about me along with a few of the categories, so it’s a little bit of a work in progress, but whilst this may be one small step for man, it’s a leap for Randommel.

M xox

Mar 2 2011

Time to grow up?!?

Some 3 years ago, I had my blog designed by the wonderful Andrew Pepperell (now famous for the awesome Alfred app). Whilst I love the design, heck it’s served me well, I feel like I’ve grown a lot in that time and it’s time to update my blog to reflect that.

My Thursday videos are back with a vengence and I’ve no intention of losing them. However, I’ve been on a huge learning curve in that time – from growing communities to a Head of Marketing and now onto managing blogger relations.

I know that some of the more interesting posts that I read are those ‘warts and all’ posts from others admitting their mistakes and sharing their learnings and I’d hope to do the same. I’d also like to start to interview thought leaders from different industries all connected by their passion for the web and I need somewhere for that to live.

Therefore, I put out a tweet last week and was inundated by kind offers, for which I’m very grateful. Having been approached by Christina Fowler, I looked at some of her work and felt it suited my style well.

My brief was clear – I’ve grown up and I wanted my blog to grow up too. It needed to remain a level of fun and it needed to be approachable – the whole purpose for my blog is to encourage conversation, to engage and listen rather than just push content. And, so, there it is, it’s currently in the hands of the design gods, well Christina, and she’s working on wireframes as we speak. I’m excited to get back the initial mood boards, which will be shared with you here and I’m hoping to ask her to explain her design inspirations here too.

In the meanwhile, I’d love to hear of your favourite sites in terms of design. I think I have a design eye and love good typography (shame that I’m lacking the skill!), so any pretty sites you can point me in the direction of, would be awesome.

Feb 22 2011

Jamming with Jam

It’s with much excitement and delight that I can finally announce that with effect from 7th February, I’ll be joining Jam team.

A bit of history

For those of you who have followed my journey, you’ll be aware that 6 months ago I went freelance and was contracted by ProofHQ as their Head of Marketing. As a young self-funded startup, the pace was fast and the development during that time has been tremendous. I’m hugely proud of everything that we as a team have achieved.

With so many possibilities for ProofHQ (it offers solutions to so many different industries!), my main task has been that of segmenting the target markets, strengthening the key messaging and tailoring and creating content relevant to their audiences. Following 6 months of preparation, the team now have a clear focus and structure which I know will serve them well in the future, combined with their killer product.

The future for ProofHQ is shiny bright

Given that ProofHQ are in such good shape, with clients such as Blackberry, AT&T, CBS and Bare Escentuals, it feels the perfect time to move onto what feels like my perfect job with Jam. I’ll continue to advise for ProofHQ and they’ll always have a place in my heart (something I’ll remind them of when they’re bought for billions in years to come!).

So… the new gig!

If you aren’t already aware of Jam, they were the first dedicated social media agency in the UK and are now part of The Engine Group family. My role there is going to be that of a Blogger Relationship Manager which will give me the opportunity to keep my pulse on the web and it’s emerging trends (something that I was passionate about at Carsonified) as well as playing an active part in the blogger community, something that I was born for.

Given the huge clients on their books, I’m looking forward to helping distribute interesting and relevant content, focussing on tech, mobile, fashion cars and entertainment. Um, yeah, as I said, perfect! There will also be lots of events, socials and meetups, so I’m hoping that London is ready for me.

Get in touch…

I couldn’t ask to be joining a cooler agency, advocates of true authenticity with their fingers on the pulse. So if you’re a blogger, interested in being amongst the first to hear of the projects I’m helping with, be sure to contact me at melkirk1[at]gmail.com with your email address or leave a comment below.

Jan 12 2011

An email about mice!

As some of you may know, I currently work out of a shared office. The emails sent out by the general duty manager often have me in stitches, not intentionally… oh no, he’s quite serious! So without further ado, I thought I’d share the latest… enjoy!

Title: Mice

Description: I believe we have the first dead mouse of the winter under the floorboards on the ground floor. I have noticed the smell building since yesterday and it will get much worse and may well linger much of next week. These little furry creatures do tend to move indoors during the winter especially if there is a ready supply of food, I prefer they feast outdoors, the best way to encouage this is to follow these simple pointers…

Ensure food leftovers are disposed of daily. Please return dirty crockery to the cafe and wash any that belong to you in the kitchens daily. Don’t stockpile dirty crockery!

Don’t throw food waste in your bins and then not empty your bin. Either use the waste bins in the kitchens or centralise it then dispose of it at the end of the day.

Put any food not eaten today saved for tomorrow into a container. Mice love to crawl all over food left out…especially in the evenings! Yuk!!!

If we follow these simple pointers then pleasant smells will prevail.

Nov 25 2010

Time to ditch uneducated journalists!

Don’t take the bait. Don’t take the bait. Don’t take the bait. Don’t take the bait. Don’t take the bait. Don’t take the bait. Don’t take the bait. Don’t take the bait. Don’t take the bait. Don’t take the bait.

OK I’ve taken the bait.

As Milo Yiannopoulos, known as Nero on Twitter or found on Facebook , Foursquare or on LinkedIn, clearly doesn’t believe in the power of social media or it’s importance, I’m going to trust that his recent rant on the Telegraph site wasn’t purely link bait and he really is uneducated enough to believe the points that he raised. So I thought that I’d kindly take the time to teach him a thing or two on the subject. So, Milo my friend, this goes out to you.

For those of you who were fortunate enough to have not read the article, let me summarise for you in a quick excerpt from the article:

“Social Media consulting amounts to little more than mastering the art of the bleeding obvious and no company, no matter what its size, should even consider hiring external Social Media Consultants. Internally, the most you need is a couple of interns with laptops.”

Now before I start, let me quickly add that I completely understand people taking objection to the term “Social Media Guru” and it’s definitely one that I avoid myself. Social Media is just one aspect that makes up digital marketing and whilst Milo would have you believe that anyone with a laptop is capable of posting links to Twitter and Facebook, this just highlights his lack of education on the matter.

The Ways Campaigns Should Work

Social media should NOT be used to drop links. It’s something that lots of companies still do, but it doesn’t make it right. Good campaigns will involve listening activity to work out where the target audience lies for your product or service, looking at what content they respond to, how they interact and what interests them. From there, a detailed strategy should be created with objectives, and gasp, measurement. Once you’ve got your strategy and your content for delivery, it’s not just a case of putting it out there – it’s about opening conversation and engaging with that audience to truly understand them and to develop genuine relationships. You have to follow up.

In his post, Milo states that Social Media Consultants didn’t exist in London in 2007. Now, I’m not sure where he was living at the time, but I’m assuming it wasn’t in the City, as they certainly were. It may not have carried the “Social Media” tag but ultimately all that social media represents is tools to engage with your audience and that’s definitely not only just popped up in the past 3 years.

The ‘Rot’ of Social Media

If Milo truly believes that Social Media is purely saying ‘hi’ to your audience as he suggests, then I can completely understand why he would also believe that any PR bod could do this. However, you only need to take a look at the recent Old Spice campaign which completely turned the brand around and drove a demographic that would never have considered the product before. I don’t think a PR person saying hi would have had the same effect.

Stick To What You’re Good At Milo!

Given that Milo feels so strongly against social media, it amazes me that most of his articles are written about the topic. Of course, I very much doubt that he cares about the number of followers that he gets on Twitter or comments to his articles…. but Milo, I beg of you… before you make sweeping generalisations about a whole profession, please at least do some research. Somehow, if you had people writing about your role as a blogger (also a form of social media) I think you’d want educated views and not just trash.

*climbs down from soap box*

Oct 18 2010

An update from me for you…

You start at a company doing the job you want to do, then they find out that you’re good and before you know it, you’ve moved onwards and upwards and gained responsibilities for things that have never been your bag. Everybody’s been there right? For me personally, that’s been a real challenge, especially given that I don’t do failure – a true perfectionist at heart.

I’ve taken recent circumstances in my life to reassess my approach to my work. What’s the point in having a better title, more money if you’re not happy doing what you’re doing? For me, marketing, social media, blogging, copywriting, events, branding and product development are where I get my kicks. It’s what I’m good at and it’s what I love. If my morning starts with coffee, TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb, TheNextWeb or Mashable, it’s going to be a good day.

I can work in my PJs?

For this reason, I’m happy to share with you that I’ve taken the leap into self-employment…. scary…. but it also means that I’m able to deliver the best possible work because I’m doing what I’m passionate about…. helping people and making the web a better place. I’m excited to have been contracted full-time by ProofHQ to head up their marketing function and I have to say, it’s awesome to be back in the web app industry and with design in particular.

For those of you who aren’t aware of ProofHQ – it’s an online collaboration tool that helps you markup, review and approve static, web and A/V files. It’s awesome to be working with a teenie tiny startup again, amongst guys that live and breath the web.

You can read what I have to say about design on their blog, which is edited daily! I’ve also created the world’s largest design resource list here which hopefully you might like too.

Personally

In my down time, I continue to work on a number of other small projects, including a little startup called ShoppingVouchers.co.uk which I’m honoured to be involved with. I consider myself to be very lucky to be in a position where I can pick and choose which projects to have involvement with, focusing only on those that I passionately believe in.

What for Randommel?

The random videos will continue, I know that they’ve been a bit sparse of late, but I promise that they’ll get better. I’m hoping to re-design Randommel to reflect my maturing experience. I’m keen to write more of my thoughts around marketing and the movement of the web and I think it deserves a new home to do that. If you have any requests as to what you’d like to see, please let me know.

Thanks

As always, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support. You guys make the web a rocking place and for that I’m eternally grateful.

M xox