Our guest blogger this week is Phil Stupples who currently is “one of those Brits Down Under”. Phil is an experienced corporate banker, and recently relocated to Austalia. Phil is passionate about running, music and travel and started running marathons in 2009, with five completed so far, London x 2, Stockholm, Berlin and Paris.
We asked Phil this question “Did you use Social Media in your move to Australia?” Here is what he had to say.
I remember thinking at the time that it was an interesting question and my initial reaction was to ponder what exactly social media is and how I use it. My life has not been the same ever since that fateful night when some friends took pity on me while Mrs S (my wife) was in the US and at some point during the evening suggested I get myself onto Facebook.
That was way back in 2009, but until then I had steadfastly refused to play. Now even Mrs S has joined it and for us it is a great way to stay in touch with family and friends and keep up to date with the gossip and news. These days a lot of people announce things via Facebook so if you’re not part of herd you will miss out on important information like your nieces engagement or subsequent wedding plans.
With the time difference it tends to be a bit of a catch up over breakfast on what’s been happening overnight. The other day I was spotted online and ended up exchanging messages on the bus to work – even sent a picture taken out of the window as we went over the Harbour Bridge.
Around the same time I joined the Facebook revolution I also joined Twitter. In for a penny as they say. For me Twitter is still a work in progress, I can go for several days without interacting with it or I can send several tweets in a short space of time, keep up with my timeline and interact with various people. Twitter space is a funny old place, an opportunity to interact with all and sundry on anything and everything. By way of illustration I saw a documentary programme a while back about the Stones on tour in the 70’s which featured Kid Jensen (remember him? If not Wikipedia) he looked like a kid in a sweet shop as he spent time rubbing shoulders with his heroes. So I looked him up on twitter and sent him a tweet to that effect. He duly replied saying that he did indeed have a great time and has special memories of that time. Can’t imagine that happening 20 years ago.
So what about work? As with Facebook I was a slow adopter of LinkedIn but once I “got it” and realised what a powerful tool it can be then that was me hooked! I use LinkedIn pretty much daily as a way to keep up to date. When we moved to Sydney and I updated my profile it was a great way to make sure my business acquaintances knew where I was and what I was up to. When I joined my new team I connected to as many as I could find and then reviewed their profiles to find out a bit more about them. So helpful to do a bit of research ahead of meeting someone new. I used to be a bit nervous about them being able to see I had reviewed their profile, but I think it merely shows that I am interested to know a bit more about them.
One of the fastest growing networking groups on LinkedIn (in my opinion that is) is the RBN or rugby business network. In essence it does what it says on the tin and connects people who are in business and have a love of rugby. Simple! Not long before I left the UK I attended an event and met the founder a guy called Colm Hannon. I got in touch via LinkedIn and asked for his help to connect to the RBN in Sydney. Within a day or two I was sitting down having a coffee with the guy who runs the RBN over here. I have been to several of their events, made numerous new contacts and met a number of ex Wallabies
as well. At one of their events the guest speaker said something along the lines of ” your life only really starts when you are at the edge of your comfort zone” That one resonated with me.
Another of my contacts arranged to introduce me to some of his LBS alumni who had experienced moving from Europe to Sydney. A number offered to meet and share some of their experiences. This is particularly helpful as you get to hear their stories first hand as well as some great advice into the bargain.
We have been here for more than 5 months now and are feeling fairly settled. We are hoping that we get some visitors whilst we are here but in the meantime Facebook, Google+ are a great way to stay in touch. The time difference which is now 9 hours, but in summer goes to 11 hours, means that phone calls and Skype tend to happen at weekends and tend to need a lot of pre-planning. A phone call is nice but Skype has meant that we get to see people as well and the lucky ones get a guided tour round the new house as well!
Did we use social media to help prepare before we left? The short answer is probably a resounding “no” but then again until we finally got our visas it was hard to really believe that it was going to happen. Then the visas came through and it was a case of strapping in for a roller coaster couple of weeks and then we were gone!
With hindsight maybe we could have done more but until you hit the ground you can’t really get too into the planning.
Having written all this stuff down I started to reflect on the first time we visited Australia. It was around March 1994 and I was lucky enough to spend 2 weeks working in Sydney. I say I was lucky, maybe it was Mrs S who was the lucky one as she flew out to join me for about 10 days so managed to see a lot more of the place than I did. Anyway my mind wandered and as it meandered down memory lane I wondered what life would have been like if we had moved out to Australia all those years ago. How would we have coped with out all those social networking sites? Then I did a bit of a double take. Whilst we hadn’t moved to Australia we had moved to Hong Kong where we lived for a year. We seemed to cope pretty well without all of those apps and sites. We stayed in touch fairly well all things considered. I guess the main difference is that these days in our on demand world we expect everything to be instantaneous, in those days it was a postcard, a letter or a phone call. You have to wonder whether we really are any better off? What do you think?