The season of Colombian goodwill to all

Happy New Year from the beautiful coffee area near Pereira in Columbia.

Most towns have been busy celebrating the festive season with amazingly colourful processions and outdoor concerts which have everyone dancing around the square until the early hours. This week it’s the Manizales fiesta , hot on the heels of the famous Cali feria.

The BBC have reported that the Columbian army have just completed a military operation to persuade the remaining guerrillas in the countryside to down their arms. As I mentioned in my last blog the Farc guerrillas are still holding out in certain mountainous areas but as they are likely to be suffering pretty miserable living conditions the government has decided that it might be worth trying to persuade them to down their arms and enjoy Christmas with their families. They have planted several huge Christmas trees in their main hangouts with lit messages to try and persuade them to change their ways. With the Colombian economy strengthening (according to the local press it grew by 4.3% in the last quarter of 2010) there are plenty of reasons for the guerillas to heed the messages and bring some lasting peace to the country.

This is a country well worth visiting and as reported last week, despite the devastating floods and landslides which have uprooted more than 2 million people, there are still ways to get around to enjoy the warm hospitality and fascinating sights of this country.

As I sit watching the many humming birds flit amongst the trees I was wondering what I should make as my new year’s resolution. Firstly I’ve started to take some lessons from the Columbians and have sent out some messages to reconnect with old friends and next step is to predict some social media changes for 2011. Watch this space for social media predictions and South American musings.

My first prediction is that more companies will be launching their New Year TV adverts via social media channels than ever before. The opportunity to find out how their advert is liked will be too tempting to ignore. My prediction is that companies will be using social media to test drive all their adverts in 2012 so that they will know how well liked they are BEFORE launch.

I wish you all a Happy New Year and prosperous 2011.

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