What does social media make-up look like?

I just stumbled across this very cool social media process chart from Damien Basile via Steffen Konrath (@stkonrath).

Social Media Process v. 1.0

It definitely sums up a lot of my social media make-up although there are a couple of things I don’t use that I’ll endeavour to try out.

For example, to my shame, I am yet to get to grips with FriendFeed, Pixelpipe or Spotify (which come to think about it isn’t on this chart).

So thanks to Damien for giving me the push to investigate some new social networks and apps. I hope he does another in a years time – I’m sure the social media landscape will have turned around another 360 degrees by then!

There’s life Jim, but not as we know it…

Having moved back to the UK from Mexico, my wife and I decided to move to Cheltenham instead of return to live and work in London.

Although massive fans of the big city we’d pretty much had enough of hectic, polluted megapolises after living in Mexico City (population c. 25 million) for four years.

So here we are. Having moved back in June we have finally readjusted (although not to the cold) and are now looking at our future here.

Having worked in media, both on and offline, I am looking to move into the digital world in the South West, but have always wondered:

Is there (digital) life outside the M25?

Many would have it that there isn’t. When I informed friends who work in the industry (and are based in London) that, shock horror, I was considering moving here, they were almost aghast.

What? Online? In the south west?

This was said time and time again, so much so that I really began to believe that I couldn’t possibly entertain the notion of a decent career outside the capital.

After really very little effort or research I could see straight away that this was very short-sighted.

According to The Top 100 South West Creative Companies 2009, the top ten digital agencies had a combined annual turnover of £32,361,714. The number one dagency, Sift, netted just over £7 million.

Of these 10, eight are based in Bristol, suggesting that my quest for work may be focussed there, but the fact that there are ten in my view is very healthy.

In terms of media owners the obvious company to mention is Future, based in Bath, and publisher of titles such as totalfilm.com and metalhammer.co.uk. With presence in both the UK and globally, Future is increasing it’s digital arm every year and tops the South West’s top publishing company list.

Finally, there seem to be healthy communities of people here (admit it, we’re geeks) who want to explore the possibilities of digital and social media in the South West. In Bristol, Brrism (Bristol Social Media) holds monthly meet up’s to talk shop, whilst I shall be heading off to Chelteham’s DigiTalks tonight (I’ll post to give my feedback).  What with various tweeps looking at starting up a Cheltenham-based Social Media Cafe, things look pretty healthy here.

I’m confident that digital life does not end at the M25, but would love to hear from you if you are a social media consultant, if you have your own digital agency or are pushing the boundaries in digital publishing. I’d love to promote you (and then maybe one of you can give me a job ;-) ).

Alternatively if you run or attend a social media community in the South West (or anywhere outside London really) it would be great to promote you too. It’s a regional love-in!

Possibly the biggest understatement of the century?

I was just checking out this post on the birth of Twitter. It’s a tad geektastic, but interesting all the same – amazing what can come out of an afternoon’s brainstorming session.

Oh this is going to be addictive – @Dom

According to @dom this was the 38th ever message (written by him) on twitter. Talk about an understatement.

@jack – twitter founder and chairman Jack Dorsey – was just as prescient:

One could change the world with 140 characters

With Twitter’s proliferation both in terms of users, tweets and presence in the global conscience, these guys have been proved right time and time again.

Check out @dom’s website for his book  140 Characters: a style guide for the short form. I’m yet to read the book but it looks fascinating and should be well worth a read for anyone who gets confused about their tweeple and their twitpics.

Will this be the new language form of the future? Could you write Shakespeare in 140 characters? I’m not so sure, but people are always willing to give it a go. If you’re one of them you should enter @timescheltenham‘s competition to write a story in 135 characters.

If you liked this post don’t forget to retweet it. I’ve even shortened the URL for you :) http://wp.me/pn1Fq-2a

And here’s my take on thinking in 140 characters or less.

Update:

I just stumbled upon this explanation of 140 Characters by @dom himself on Mont C. M. Metger’s blog. Thanks for sharing Monty!

Michael Jackson tribute tour cancelled…

I just read in quick succession the news that the Michael Jackson tribute tour has been cancelled and that Stephen Fry’s twitter influence is having a dramatic effect on the publishing world, I thought I’d post a video that combines the two in a rather marvellous way.

Could Amir Khan threaten freedom of speech on Facebook?

So, should we all be watching what we write in our blogs, on facebook, twitter and the many thousands of outlets available online?

It would seem so.

The Guardan reported yesterday that Amir Khan, the WBA light welterweight champion and Frank Warren are threatening legal action on Facebook for a failure to remove defamatory

The pair have engaged lawyers to threaten the US internet company with action over the use of images and names alongside material they consider to be defamatory and racist. Stephen Taylor Heath, head of sports and media at Lupton Fawcett, said that a cursory search of Facebook quickly led to “bogus” pages that used the images and names of the pair to link to material that would be “highly defamatory” if published in a newspaper or magazine.

Obviously, racism is a BAD THING and should be thwarted at all turns, and as a British Asian, Khan has a right to try and stop people being racist against him. This is without doubt.

But (and you knew there was gonna be a but) Khan is also a brand. He is not just a sports person but has been created, by Warren, as a marketable commodity. His threat to sue Facebook for not removing such bogus pages surely will have huge implications to the internet if he wins.

How far could this be taken? Consumers are forever writing derogatory remarks about products (or brands) that they don’t like, don’t agree with, have had bad experiences with. That’s why so many of us research online before any purchase, however large or small. Will this lead to companies suing individual users for regular bad reviews?

What with Google being forced to reveal the identity of the “Skanks in NYC” blogger and The Times’ failure to protect the police blogger Night Jack from the courts, this certainly feels like freedom of speech online can no longer be taken for granted.

Your business card is cr@p!!!

I just stumbled across this video on the http://www.digitalks.com website (more about them in another post) and I love it. This guy gives even the late, great Billy Mays a run for his money…

To be fair the guy has a point. So many people, myself included, have incredibly boring, formulaic business cards that you’d forget in an instant.

In fact some of the most memorable and commented upon business cards I’ve seen are my wife’s – business cards with a selection of her photos on the back from Moo. She’s a freelance writer and photographer (check out her work here – I’ll be in her good books for ages!) and the photographs not only immediately showcase what she’s all about but actually initiate a conversation. She gives her new contact a choice of their favourite photo and it goes on from there.

So for anyone, in any business, at a time when making yourself stand out from the crowd is more important than ever, a great business card is a valuable investment. Now if only I could work out how to get my business cards to talk…

Oh and if you want to check out exactly why Billy Mays was known as the greatest pitchman in the business, check this out:

After insidemex.com, it’s back to planet blog…

Finally after two months of working solidly getting www.insidmex.com it has finally gone live and I can actually write some posts!!

In case you don’t know, we’ve been working for the last year and we think we’ve created a great site.

We’re adding more and more content all the time from Mexican real estate articles to travel in Mexico, expats living in Mexico to some great multimedia. On top of that, and the most interesting of all for this writer, is the social network that we’re developing for expats living in and around Mexico. I think it’s going to be big…there isn’t anyone else out there doing it at the level we are.

So go on, if you’re thinking of visiting Mexico,  looking at buying some real estate or maybe moving here with a job there’s bound to be somthing of interest there for you.

Anyway, enough self promoting, but seriously, check out www.insidemex.com and let us know what you think.

Mobile gets social media on the move

Everyone is doing it. Apart from me.

Everyday I log into Facebook from my “mobile” desk of a Dell Inspiron, it seems I see another five of my friends have added one of the 461 facebook applications for iphone.

iphone_home

Even the most technophobe of mates, as soon as he or she gets an iphone, is adding the handy little app that lets them update their facebook statuses or check their messages whilst on the move.

Indeed the stats speak for themselves: mobile social media usage shot up last year by 152%, with the UK having the largest penetration in the market with 9%.

And it would seem that it is the popularity of the iPhone 3G (every man and his dog seemed to have bought one for Christmas), as well as the blackberry and Nokia N series phones that has really spurred the growth in mobile social media usage.

Or has it?

Could it be that the public’s obsession with social networking and micro-blogging sites like Twitter has fuelled the sale of mobiles (cel phones to our American cousins) with advanced internet access?

It will be interesting to see if the now established recession puts a dent in both sales of 3g mobiles and the latest form of mobile communication.

Now I just have to work out how I’m going to afford an iPhone…

Image of the Day 28/1/09

I'm big and yellow and floating in a dockyard. What am I?

I'm big and yellow and floating in a dockyard. What am I?

Image from www.woostercollective.com

President 2.Obama

We all knew that this administration was going to be technologically more advanced than previous terms when Barrack Obama won the 2008 election to become the 44th President of the United States of America.

Not only did the Democrats stunningly over achieve with online donations, enabling them to out spend the Republicans out of the water, we also got the first presidential candidate to embrace social media.

His campaign team used @BarrackObama, as well as facebook, youtube and myspace to reach an audience of potential voters and doners that traditionally could have been ignored by past campaigns. Obama has also become the first President to use email and amazingly kept his blackberry, although will be restricted in its use to a small group of select Whitehouse staffers.

By using social media, email marketing and clever media buys Obama was able to enthuse and mobilize the youth vote that proved incredibly important on November 5th.

Finally it seems, we have a web 2.0 international leader: President 2.Obama.

President Obama and his team will be using technology in an unprecedented way to reach out to the nation and beyond.

As Kevin Merrit, CEO of Blist shows in this excellent Washington Post/Tech Crunch post, the presidency has listed communication, transparency and participation as being their watchwords for their first term and as such are utilizing every channel possible to get their messages accross to the people.

So from his first Weekly Address as President on Youtube (see above), to the setting up of recovery.gov, and the first ever Presidential blog on whitehouse.gov, the US presidency has fully embraced the idea that you can no longer rely on tv and radio to reach your voters. They realise the importance of transparency in an age where anyone can look at public records, google a politicians past claims and promises or just vent on what they hate about a government with the click of a mouse.

So, if you’re not already why not join President Obama’s other 144,000 twitter followers, or the 4,422,962 registered supporters on Facebook.

Can Obama revolutionise the Whitehouse as we know it? Yes he can! (Sorry, couldn’t help it…)

UPDATE: If you want to read a great post on how exactly Obama should be using Twitter, check out Mashable for some great analysis and an extensive list of politicians who use Twitter and how they use it. I would definitely agree that whilst it’s great that Obama is on Twitter and that the Whitehouse uses it, just twittering about policy announcements is not going to get them far. They need to start turning the personal on before they turn the followers off. Remember we are a fickle bunch!!

If you liked this post then tweet it:

RT @siburgess79 President 2.Obama  http://ad.vu/m9pz

Mainstream media sources embrace Twitter and Facebook

Not only is Twitter truly a global phenomenon, it has, along with Facebook, transcended the barriers of on and offline by becoming a major source for “serious” news stories from traditional news sources, such as The Times and the Guardian.

Mumbai

No one can doubt the power Twitter had in the crisis in Mumbai last year with live updates from those on the ground not bound by the compromises made by press and tv (see Garza if you want an example). Journalists were able to use these live updates to give a sense of what was happening when it was too dangerous to be on the ground.

A further example was reported in the Times last year, when software engineer Mike Wilson tweeted his experiences immediately after running out of a burning plane crash in Denver.


Brand (left) and Ross

Brand (left) and Ross

@wossy

On a more superficial level, @wossy, Jonathan Ross’s twitter feed, has been regularly quoted in newspaper articles about the Sachs-gate scandal with Russell Brand that broke at the tail end of 2008.

With more and more celebraties using Twitter as a way of updating fans and commenting on gossip, the news media is able to get unfiltered (to an extent) insights into their thinking.

Facebook too is now embraced by mainstream media (in what must amount to a certain extent to a cynical way of engaging with an audience bigger than any they can expect) and utilized in traditional or semi-traditional coverage. The most recent case in point was the CNN Inauguration coverage with a constant stream of facebook updates by its side through out its intirety.

I’m sure that this is a trend that is not likely to slow down, especially as it is more and more difficult to attract mass audiences like the ones Twitter and Facebook now reach. More improtantly, it will be interesting to see if the relatively recent acceptance of Twitter by the mainstream media has a knock-on effect in encouraging more people to become Tweeple.

Image of the Day 23/1/09

What a difference 50 years makes

What a difference 50 years makes

It’s amazing how far America has come in the last 50 years. To think that a black man who’s own father suffered such extreme discrimination has been elected President of the United States of America is truly astounding. America, I salute you for being strong enough to believe.

Photo: Margaret Bourke-White

London tweets more than any other…

So according to The Times, London is the city that tweets more than any other.

The UK newspaper’s blog Tech Central received Google analytics data that show that London makes up 2% of all twitter traffic.

Come on London, I knew you had it in you!

So where are you when you tweet? Personally I live in Mexico City and it didn’t even rank in the top ten.

Still, with the boom in internet usage and blogging accross Latin America I’ll be interested to see whether any other Latin capitals make the list this time next year. Here’s the top ten according to Tech Central:

1. London
2. New York
3. San Francisco
4. Sao Paulo
5. Chicago
6. Seattle
7. Shibuya
8. Toronto
9. Brooklyn
10. West Hollywood

Microsoft and Ebay make the recession seem a whole lot more real

You know you’re in trouble when two of the biggest companies in digital media and technology, Ebay and Microsoft announce job cuts and profit losses in the same week.

As reported by New Media Age,  the seemingly untouchable giant of computing, and the darling of the internet commerce industry both showed us exactly how hard this recession is hitting.

Microsoft announced today that they are to cut 5% of their entire workforce over the next 18 months due to instability and a slow down in tech spend. Although only 60 look to be going in the UK, in worldwide terms it will be around 5,000 employees. This came on the back of Ebay announcing that for the first time since launching in 1995 quarterly revenues were to drop year on year.

Now to me, at least for a company like Microsoft, this makes sense. With a recession as deep as this one looks to be, technology buys were always going to suffer over the short to medium term. Even so, when such a huge name that has seemingly been immune to the vagueries of the world economy get’s hit this hard you know things are looking grim.

And Ebay’s losses make this situation look a whole lot worse. You would have thought that this would be a perfect time for Ebay to build even further on it’s position with people feeling the pinch and needing to offload a few unwanted presents. But I guess it doesn’t matter how many people have second hand Fender’s to sell and Vivienne Westwood skirts to flog if the buyers just don’t have the cash.

Simon Burgess, meet Simon Burgess

Whilst the rest of the sane world was facing reality in the new year, last week I was on a quest. My mission? To meet myself.

What had started off as a mother’s mis-typing of my email address some two years ago has led to one of the most bizarre afternoons of my youngish life.

Just before Christmas, I received a Linkedin request from my namesake, Simon Burgess. Nothing weird in that you may think. After all, one of the first things you do when you join a social network is look yourself up, right?

The narcissism doesn’t stop there. Type your name into Google and you can have a great afternoon discovering what those fortunate enough to find themselves with your name look like, do, think etc. Some of my alter egos are an economist at the University of Bristol, a Labour parlimentary candidate, and “the flamboyant managing director of British Insurance”.

Furthermore try typing in your name as a url. proMotion (www.simonburgess.com) is written by Simon Burgess, the creative director at Canadian agency Elemental Motion Media. We get all over the world.

Anyway, back to the story…

So even though connecting with namesakes on social networks is not unusual, this request was different from the beginning.

Firstly, the mistaken identity situation.

Dear Simon,

I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

Only because you have the same name as me, I get emails in my gmail account for you (though these have stopped now)…

It turns out that Simon and I have almost exactly the same email address. In fact they are different by one keystroke. One tiny but rather significant letter. Pretty much as soon as I got a gmail account Simon Burgess (we’ll call him SB Senior) started getting my emails. Mainly from my mum. Being a nice chap SB Senior emailed my mum to let her know of her mistake, and thought nothing of it. Being a complete techno-nitwit my mum kept sending emails. As did various random people from Mexico City.

Whilst obviously annoying, I like to think that this tom foolery piqued SB Senior’s interest. So he did a search for me on LinkedIn and had a little look at my profile.

This is me on linked in. (You can connect with me if you like. Especially if you are called Simon Burgess.)

And this is where things got weird.

…and most weirdly of all (I told you) I worked at centaur at precision marketing from 90-91!

Now for those of you not so familiar with the classic UK Direct Marketing magazine, Precision Marketing, this may not seem like such a coincidence. It could happen to anyone. Except that this is a tiny trade magazine, we both worked there for our first jobs going into media sales, and worked there exactly ten years apart, SB Senior starting in ’90 whilst I began my slightly longer tenure in 2000. Furthermore, with Simon working in digital media, and this being the way my career has gone, our paths had to cross at some point.

Deciding to meet up for post Christmas drinks was a slightly daunting and exciting prospect. I was fully prepared to ditch the drinks after half an hour for a “meeting” if it turned out that actually not all Simon Burgesses were as amazing as me (had to say it) but luckily it turns out we’re all (at least two of us anyway) good lads. We ended up boring our fellow drinkers (Simon´s brother on one hand and his boss on the other) with our amazement at how weird the whole situation was, and then went on to have a ridiculously drunken pub crawl to celebrate the sheer Burgessness of it all.

So all in all I guess why I’m telling this tale, apart from outlining the random set of coincidences that went to bring it all together, is to say that social media, and I guess the internet in general, can have very surprising but rewarding results in “real life”. I know Dave Gorman got there first and told his version in a much more witty way but I don’t care cos I think it’s a great story and will be dining out on it for years to come.

Go on, do it yourself, meet yourself. It’ll be worth it even if it’s just so that you can tell someone a story like this.

Oh yeah, and Simon Burgess’s wife has the same name as mine. Now that is weird.

NB We’re gonna start a club so if you’re an SB get in touch

Depressingly familiar advertising complaints follow “Matrix”-style VW Golf ad…

As much an excuse to have a cool advert on my blog as anything else, I thought I’d record my two peneth on the latest VW Golf TV commercial by DDB London.

Even though (for me) owning a Golf went out of fashion with drinking Diamon White in the local park and mustering up the courage to buy a packet of cigarettes, I’ve sat up and paid attention to the slick production of the new Golf ad featuring a German car designer fighting it out with clones of himself in a factory, with all the kung fu mayhem that that entails.

As ever, people with too little to do and to much time on their hands (105 and counting) are insisting that the advert should be shown after the 9pm watershed in the UK.

The problem, as they see it, is that the advert glorifies violence and I guess feel that their kids will soon be fighting it out with windscreen wipers and petrol caps.

I have several problems with this kind of attempt at censorship. Firstly, this advert shows what is obviously fantasy violence and really no more violent than any given episode of Doctor Who or most popular video games.

Secondly banning this advert from tv before the watershed will do nothing because it takes about two seconds for anyone, young children included, to find on any video sharing site, not to mention on every one of the newspaper websites – see Monday’s Guardian - that will be reporting on (and giving a huge amount of publicity to) this new VW Golf advertising campaign.

On top of all this, in a new economic age where advertising revenues are going down the drain and magazine and tv ad rates are falling through the floor, do we want to let these over sensitive busy bodies reduce their earning potential any further?

Well, without any further to do, here’s the ad in all it’s ass-kicking glory:

And whilst I’m on the TV advert tip, here’s my favourite advert of the year so far…80′s revival and beautiful blondes to boot :-)

Continuing with my online video obsession…

So if you’re looking for a good list of free video sharing sites, check out the Friday Traffic Rpt  from Jack Humphrey including well known sites such as Youtube and Google Video, to lesser known sites (at least to me) such as Famster, and CastPost.

As Jack says:

Video marketing is surpassing article marketing for “newness” but also effectiveness of the link building and direct traffic it generates.

This is certainly a list we’ll be checking out as we look to ramp up creating video channels for www.insidemex.com videos. I’ll let you know what our experiences are like as we begin to use each one.

A beginner blogs about beginning a blog

So what did 2008 teach you?

Don’t drink ten pints and eat a curry and expect to feel well the next day? Never expect an English sports team to live up to its potential? Tequila and milk doesn’t mix? Too much turkey leads to major flatulence?

I painfully and depressingly learned all of the above and more, but today I’d like to reflect on beginning this blog at the end of last year and what I’d have done differently. So here are my top ten dos and don’ts as a beginner blogger:

  1. Do start a blog. In this new age of digital media, if you don’t have a presence online you may as well not exist. All forms of social media allow you to develop your personal brand (a term I kind of hate) and give you control of how potential friends, employers and customers see you and your service
  2. Don’t start it until you have an idea of what you’re going to blog about.
  3. Do promote your blog on twitter, facebook, etc Don’t get someone with thousands of followers on twitter to promote your blog until it is really ready and has some kind of substance. It puts pressure on you to try and come up with clever/witty posts when what you really need to do is develop a voice and work out what you actually want to say.
  4. Do read other people’s blogs as much as possible. Work out what works and what doesn’t work and apply what you learn to your own writing.
  5. Do Comment, comment, comment. You need to show people what you think and why you think it and why it would be worth them reading your blog. By commenting on blogs that cover the same or similar subjects to your intended blog, you’ll be targeting the right audience.
  6. Do find a niche so that you can target a specific audience but…
  7. …don’t write about something you think you should be writing about write about what excites you, motivates you, something you’re passionate about.
  8. Do be passionate about what you want to write!!! Motivation is key with blogging. It takes a huge amount of commitment to write a blog and things like travel, work, girlfriends/boyfriends, wives/husbands/kids can really get in the way! You have to really want to do it and understand that it is a commitment. As I have learned, a blog without posts is not a good blog.
  9. Do Listen to your peers, ask their advice but don’t be afraid to reject it if you don’t agree with it. The beauty of blogging and microblogging (twitter) is that you get to do what you want the way you want to with out having to stick to a whole bunch of rules and regulations designed by others.
  10. Having said that, Do make sure that you follow some conventions/unwritten rules. There are people who have been blogging and micro-blogging since the dawn of (blogging) time and know what works/doesn’t work and can be of great help. Don’t forget to check out www.problogger.net. Darren Rowse really knows what he’s on about and has advice about everything from beginning a blog to making a living from blogging.

If you have any other advice for others just starting out in the blogging world, it would be great to hear your thoughts. Oh and finally, Happy New Year!

Video doesn’t play well in Mexico

After trying to watch a 5 minute video last night over a period of half an hour, I realised that online video in Mexico is broken and is still the pipedream that Simon Burgess of proMotion says is now over in the US and Canada.

My experience of trying to access online video living here in Mexico City is this: this morning I watched Gary Vaynerchuk’s 2 minute take on owning your own .tv domain. No problems.

I know however that this afternoon it simply will not load, or every 20 seconds I’ll have to wait another 5 minutes waiting for it to buffer.

In a country were online advertising grew 97% in the last year, where online marketing is exploding, how can this be? Why is there such a lack of bandwidth allowing a good experience of online video?

I’ll tell you why. It’s because there is no competition whatsoever here. Mexico is a country ruled by Carlos Slim and his Grupo Carso empire.

Carlos Slim - The Emperor battling against the Rebel internet users

Carlos Slim

For this reason, no one can go out there and provide better bandwidth at a better price because his company Telmex basically has a monopoly over providing internet access.

If Mexico is to really develop it’s online media industry then it must be supported by the likes of Telmex and Cablevision with better bandwidth provision and cheaper internet access.

Only then will the Mexican internet audience (not to mention the expats living here like me) get the most out of their online use, and only then will advertiser see the benefit of online video.

Chilly in Chile

The ad-less Lago Budi, Chile

The ad-less Lago Budi, Chile

Hey loyal reader(s),

Whilst in Chile I’ve been privelidged to witness something that very few people get to see in their lifetime.

Nothing.

Well, when I say nothing, I mean space. A freedom to think. A freedom to make a decision about something, decide whether it’s for you before being bombarded by 500 more advertising messages that are in no way more targetted than the spam email you receive from Mr Nwankwo from Nigeria who heard that you’d be able to help out with a pesky $500 million he needs to hide from the new regime…

And I don’t just mean the time that I’ve spent on the shore of Lago Budi in Chile’s Lake District with the indigenous Mapuche people. I’m talking about Santiago, Chile’s vibrant and incredibly modern capital city. A rich, thriving place full of consumers looking for new products and gadgets to spend their money on. And yet, unlike Mexico City, that giant of North America with over 22 million people, there is not billboard after billboard plastered to the skyline (and every spare space imaginable). You do not see advertising plastered in every square inch (centimetre if you’re that way inclined) trying to grab you attention.

And it’s refreshing. It’s relaxing. It let’s you breath for two seconds without having to consider the benefits of Sedal’s new curl relaxing shampoo, without wondering about the unsticking ability of Mr Muscle’s oven cleaner or being forced to imagine Coke’s great new flavour.

It’s not even like I’m anti-advertising. I like advertising; I’d go as far as to say I love it. I’ve been in advertising all my working life and it excites me to see new ways of reaching an audience, new creative that pushes the boundaries. But if I have to see another advert for something that absolutely in now way has anything whatsoever to do with me or with anyone like me I’ll scream and scream and scream.

Forcing people to see untargetted advertising these days is like force-feeding fillet mignon to die hard vegetarians. It doesn’t matter how amazing the product is; at most you’ll end up converting a percentage of a percentage to your cause, if that. There are so many options available – Google adwords, contextual advertising – why do brands persist on spending millions on TV, magazines and billboards? Here’s to the UK where in 2008 online advertising (and to an extent targeted advertising) is finally surpassing TV for the first time ever.

How soon is too soon?

So having finally published my first post after a few abortive attempts, I’ve received some great feedback. And yet something a good friend said has been nagging at me:

dude I don’t want to dampen your spirits but I’d wait a bit until you have a few posts before hawking the blog to everyone (friendly advice)

I guess I got pretty over-excited about writing my first blog and wanted as many people to have a look as possible.

But maybe he has a point? If I went to another blog or website and there was only one article/post on it I’d probably think it wasn’t worth going back as they’d seem pretty unproductive. And what if I never have anything to say of interest again? That would be pretty embarrasing not to metion eternally recorded in the mists of the tinterweb.

I’m thinking that maybe you have to “earn your stripes” as a blogger before it’s okay to promote your thoughts to other people. But I have no idea of the etiquette. Is it 5 posts, 10 posts, 100 posts before you have the critical mass for mass (okay so 10 people) consumption?

What do you think? How soon is too soon?

P.S I’ve realised that my blogging voice is starting to sound a little Sex In The City

In 140 characters or less, explain the meaning of life

I’m worried.

I woke up this morning at about 4.30am and couldn’t get back to sleep. I realised – and this is something that has been gradually dawning on me – that I have started to think in 140 characters or less.

Since starting on twitter almost exactly one month ago, (and becoming ever more of a geek, according to my wife) I can’t help thinking about all things in my life in terms of the 140 characters of the twitter update. It’s a worry, especially when the Chinese government has officially recognised the new disease of internet addiction. I guess this was probably preceded by my obsession with starting every sentence with “Simon is…” after two years of facebook, not to mention constant attempts to make my Gmail chat status witty and urbane.

And yet I’m sitting here writing this, my first blog post (oh oh, another obsession in the making) and I’m starting to think that maybe it’s not a problem at all. How often do you receive a sales email that goes on for two pages that you delete after 2 sentences? How much advertising copy is so drawn out as to bore the pants off you?

In my opinion, Twitter not only keeps you plugged into the thought processes of people you respect in your industry, interest group, whatever, but it teaches you to be concise and to the point. It forces you into writing short, sharp and clever copy to impress your peers and attract new followers. And I don’t think that’s too bad a thing at all.