Free social media guide, from the charabanc

Social Media GuidePaul Caplan could be termed a digital coach, but prefers to be a digital charabanc:

"The Charabanc was the way of getting to the seaside. It promised a new world. It was a change from the Mills. Its space was taken over by ordinary people on a special day out.

"The Chara’ was simple and did the job. There were no frills and seat-mounted TVs. There was no bar, just a crate or two. It got you there and heh the journey was fun."

Paul is a strong advocate for individuals finding their voice online, and using social media for conversations and story telling. He wrote back in 2006:

"We’re used to talking to each other with a genuine voice, a passion and a personality. When we meet people in the real world we engage eye-to-eye; talk with real authority and voice, listen and understand. But sit us down in front of a keyboard and suddenly we become a robot, a PR machine or a lawyer. We feel we should be writing in a particular sort of way. We no longer see people reading our words, we see ‘market niches’ or demographics ‘consuming our message’. We write at audiences not for people. We deliver content; we don’t tell stories.

"The Live Web is about conversations. It is about people networking via Blogs et al. It is about relating and talking with a real voice. That is what we have to rediscover when we write or take photos."

Paul goes on to provide a set of tips for rediscovering the lost art of conversation, the first of which is

Find the I. Organisations cannot and should not Blog. People blog. Don’t be frightened of sentences that start “I”. Let your personality and passion and vision shine through.

You'll find more of Paul's most popular posts here. He has now produced a new version of his social media guide, which you can download free from his blog. It was developed for the Media Trust.

We need to interest bloggers, coaches and charabancs like Paul in the Membership Project, and the nicest way to do that, I think, is to celebrate what they are doing. Expect more from the list I produce over here, and please suggest anyone else we should contact and blog about.