By @SimonCocking

Entertaining interview with Steve Garfield @stevegarfield  Social Media Traveler / Writer / Photographer / Founder: Boston Media Makers / Videoblogging Pioneer / Investor / Humorist / Beer, Food, Travel. Read more on wikipedia.

You’ve got a lotta interests! How do divide your time to them all?

Some things require more active involvement, while others are passive. I tend to choose experiences that bring me joy first and foremost.

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We love to travel, have you been to Ireland? Will we see you over at a Web Summit?

We love travel too. It’s one our our focus projects right now called Social Media Travel. I love sharing events and destinations in real time using social media. Brands that understand what I do send us places, and then what happens, happens.

We’ve been to Ireland twice and love it! The first time we did a loop around the country from Shannon to Dublin. Last year we focused on the East. Some memorable stops were The Cliff House in Ardmore – The Cliff House, A Seaside Resort in Ardmore, Ireland, and a brewery tour that included a stop at Carlow Brewing – Ireland’s Brewery Tours: Carlow Brewing, Guinness, and Smithwicks.

The Web Summit sounds like a great event for both investors and startups. I don’t have any plans to go this year, but that could change.

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Boston, seemed like the most European city we visited on the East coast. What is good about it for you, especially in a tech / investor / fun way?

One of the greatest things about Boston is the people. There are lots of colleges here in town, and those students and graduates get involved in the startup economy here. I talk about this more over here: https://vimeo.com/108079818

There are events happening every night of the week, so whatever your interest, you’ll be able to find a group of people to learn from and share with. Boston is has great public transportation and is very walkable too, so it’s easy to get around. If you are in Boston, come join my Boston Media Makers group that meets at Doyle’s Cafe on the the first Sunday of each month.

How was 2014, what went well?

2014 was great. Some of the companies that I’ve invested in and advise, were gearing up for a strong entry in 2015, and it was fun working with them. I also wound down my video production company to focus and investing and travel. It was exciting to see the traction that Social Media Travel received. As always, I enjoyed learning new tech products and reviewing and sharing what I learned.

Anything you’d do differently?

Nothing!

Plans for 2015 and the future?

I plan on doing more travel and sharing my experiences and tips, and helping the people and startups that I work with have fun and grow.

What’s your background, what led you into what you are now doing?

I started my full-time work life as a programmer, and moved into marketing and sales. In all of those positions I enjoyed learning about new things and sharing what I learned. It’s always been that way, and blogging and social media continue to allow me to share what I learn, and connect with people.

What do you enjoy about how you currently work and the type of work you do?

I’m free to explore new areas of interest and the web allows me to do that. Once I find and area that I’m interested in, I can read about it, start to follow others who are experts in that field, and connect with them. As I learn about something new, I’ll begin interacting with those in the that field, and share what I learn.

You have a great following in twitter, is this part of how you do business, how has it helped you?

Business is all about people, and twitter is people. Twitter has broken down the walls of business to allow anyone to connect with anyone else. When I start tweeting about a company, restaurant, or destination, and they reach out to connect with me, that helps. It helps them connect with a new fan, and helps me engage in a conversation.

It’s really simple.

If you are on twitter, you’ve got to do more than broadcast. Listen and engage. It brings value.

How much time does it take to stay on top of your social media digital footprint? Where else are you active as well as twitter?

I don’t think about how much time I spend on social media as opposed to other things. It’s not like I carve out time to do it, it more ingrained in my day to day life.

I’m just on.

I’m active on Facebook and Instagram too.

Blogging, who do you follow / like what they do?

Back in the day, I used to keep us with blogs using RSS 2.0. That allowed me to subscribe to my favorite blogs. Then, my favorite blog readers dropped support of RSS, and following blogs became harder and harder to do. These days I follow people on social media, and will see them link to their blogs and then read their posts.

My favorite person to follow right now is Casey Neistat, and his daily video blog. http://youtube.com/caseyneistat

I use twitter lists to focus on people that I want to make sure that I see everything that they write. To do that I use a twitter list. Right now I have a list of 203 people I read everything from. https://twitter.com/stevegarfield/lists/irl-16

Photography, iphone / smart phone and / or DSLR? What are you pro’s and cons about using them?

Bottom line is that in order to create and share content in the easiest manner, the iPhone is my device of choice. With it, I can capture, edit and share anything. In real time. It’s great.

Up until this past week, I couldn’t understand why anyone would consider anything other that an iPhone, but then I got a new LG G4 to review. Whoa! It’s got a 16 MP camera that takes beautiful photos. It’s got twitter, faceboook, and instagram apps, just like my iPhone, so it’s a second device that I’ve been carrying with me.

The con of carrying a DSLR is size. It’s just too big to carry around all day. Sometimes I’ll take along an OLYMPUS PEN mini, which is small enough to drop into a backpack, if I know I want to up my game in final image quality, but the smartphones are getting close.

Top tips to companies trying to do well on social media?

1. Listen. Set up twitter searches with a simple program like tweetdeck to see what people are saying about you and your company.

2. Respond. Engage with people who are talking about  you.

3. Be authentic. Buy a copy of my friend Ann Handley’s book Everybody Writes to learn how to talk like a person. http://annhandley.com/everybodywrites/

Not all Irish companies are convinced of the value on inbound marketing, and having an online strategy – do you spend time articulating why there is value, or just focus on those that want to develop one?

Many companies don’t want to take the time to learn what inbound marketing is, and then direct resources to it.

Inbound marketing has value.

Social media isn’t right for everyone though. A billboard by the side of the road could end up being the best advertising a company can do.

It’s an individual thing and comes down to understanding the value of having someone participate in the Social Media space.

Take a look at what others are doing and learn from their success.

Being a big user of social media, how do you manage life / work, and online / offline balance?

I’m unbalanced. Resistance is futile.

Anything else to add / we should have asked you?

Readers can follow me at https://twitter.com/stevegarfield. Say hi. Point me to interesting things. Suggest a good pub for my next trip to Dublin.

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