Some personal news…

If you’re been wondering about the slight lack of posts recently, it’s all explained by the fact I’ve left Bauer Media after eight years

So I’ll be reorganising and rebooting things a little before starting my new role…

I want your opinions and advice

Back in April, when I moved to WordPress from my old Blogger home, I also started up a new blog, 140Char, to focus on microblogging, and Twitter in particular.

When I started it, it was partly due to the fact I seemed to be writing more about microblogging than marketing, and I hoped to enlist a few contributors to focus on the topic in one place.

Now nine months later it’s grown to a reasonable size, and is about equalling this blog in terms of traffic, but it’s essentially an additional solo project – and running two blogs in addition to my day job and my family has made me start to wonder whether it’s the most efficient way to work.

So I’d like to know whether as a reader here, you also visit/subscribe to 140Char, and whether you’d rather see microblogging covered here, rather than in a seperate location?

Or do you, in fact, prefer what I’m doing over there? If given the choice, which would you rather see me concentrate on?

(I’m not suggesting I’m about to drop either blog – I really enjoy doing both, but I really want to get an idea of what you think. Incidentally, if you’d be interested in guest posting, or collaborating on either blog, let me know!)

Some late night linkage…

Just to end off the day, here’s some stuff that caught my eye from my Google Shared Items page.

Interesting interview on Venturebeat with futurist Paul Staffo. It’s about the 40th Anniversary of Doug Engelbart’s demonstration fo the first computer mouse (among other revolutionary ideas). And it’s got some great quotable ideas:

For instance, on why the mouse has lasted 40 years: ‘I hadn’t thought about it. There is an intrinsic conservatism behind our media devices. They last a lot longer than we think they ever will, once they are accepted.’

Or on what visionaries should do today: Someone like Doug would be working on exactly what he was working on in the 1960s. He didn’t set out to invent a mouse or a display for editing. His goal was to augment human intellect in the service of giving human beings tools that were the equal of the growing challenges humans were facing.

And it turns out Doug Engelbrat is still pursuing his goal today with the Doug Engelbart Institute.

From Gigom came the news: Brits get broadband bill of rights. It’s from Ofcom, and although it’s only a basic code, at least it’s a start. Now can someone please find a way to get cheap 20Mb+ broadband to every house in the UK, for an incredibly low cost so we can kickstart innovation and industry for the coming 100 years?

Tim Windsor references Martin Langeveld in writing about how ‘What it means to transform to a Digital Enterprise‘ – specifically if you’ve been putting daily news on dead trees for a while.

And in the midst of rolling out Google Friend Connect, a redesign for Youtube, a redesign for Google Reader, cutting back on data center investment, and killing Lively, it’s good to see someone is still pursuing the important things at Google. Such as tracking the eternal battle between pirates and ninjas.

My favourite piece of data?

Top Queries of 2008 related to “Ninjas Are…”

  1. ninjas are there
  2. ninjas are everywhere
  3. ninjas are better
  4. ninjas are awesome
  5. ninjas are sexy

Oh, and I don’t think I’ve done my usual cross promotion – my first report on the response to using Magpie advertising on my Twitter accounts is online over at, along with a review and interview with the man behind Twilert – a monitoring service for Twitter similar to Google Alerts.

A nice bit of validation by Alltop on a Friday…

Being recognised on lists and rankings isn’t the main aim of my blogging – but not only can it be a nice validation and boost, but it can help with my main purpose – sharing ideas and conversations, and making new connections.

So it was great to get an email earlier today to say that I now have three listings on popular topic aggregator site Alltop.

TheWayoftheWeb has made in into the Social Media listings:

140Char has made it into the Twitter listings:

And most shockingly, I’ve made it into the Twitterati listings:

I’m in some quite impressive company in each of those cases, which is great. And if just a few people happen to scroll down and end up visiting me and connecting in some way with one of my ideas, or they comment on a post etc, then I’ll be even happier!

140char quoted on BusinessWeek!

While it was an honour to be asked to contribute to an article which appeared on recently, I was a bit reluctant to post a link until an error had been corrected, but seeing as it still hasn’t happened, I thought I might as well clear up the confusion here.

The article in question is ‘Building a Better Twitter‘, and to clarify – although I am indeed Community Marketing Manager at Bauer Media, and I may occasionally refer to some of the work I do for my day job involving microblogging, this blog is not owned by Bauer Media, or in any way endorsed by my employer – it’s something I do as a personal project in my spare time, and all views and opinions published are my own, and are not representative of my employer.

On a brighter note, Darren Rowse kindly commented on my last post – highlighting how much more responsive the blogging world in general is to monitoring what is going on and ensuring assuracy and dialogue!

And finally, while I continue to work out how 140char is going to continue to progress, I’m going to air a minor irritation I’ve encountered with some of my new followers – if you’re going to follow me, and you’ve got your Twitter updates protected, are you just looking for me to broadcast at you? Am I meant to guess whether to repripocate? Or wouldn’t it be helpful for you to maybe send me a message telling me who you are?…

Some news, and something for you to do next week…

Lake Finja by dandownunder on Flickr (CC licence)

Lake Finja by dandownunder on Flickr (CC licence)

The news is probably somewhat underwhelming, but I’m going to have limited internet access, if any, for the next 7-10 days. I didn’t want you anyone thinking I’d given up or vanished! It’s come at a good time as I’m re-evaluating the purpose of to offer something which is unqiue and complimentary to other microblogging sites, and how I best use the spare time I have to keep both sites running when I’m happily getting involved in more and more at my day job.

The good news is that I’ve had a chat about getting some guest posts on here and possibly 140char over the next week from someone new to actually creating blog content, if not to the internet, journalism, or multimedia. My good friend and colleague Angus Farquhar (his tumblelog) has said he’ll try to write a few things, and hopefully by calling him out publicly, it’ll mean he has to do it!

He’s a specialist in video production, having shot 100s of videos for Motorcycle News (Look at the honours on Youtube, man), including the ill-fated MCN Daily News show, started with yours truly. So if you have video queries, from webcams and Qik to professional set-ups, now’s the time to get them in the comments and get a response.

But in return, I’d like to ask a couple of things of the wonderful people who read, comment, converse, share, digg, stumble and interact in any other way with the content I throw out into the world.

Firstly, I’d really appreciate it if you’d show some love for Angus’s posts. He might be a paid journalist and great video specialist who observes my blogging efforts with interest, but I’d love for him to experience even 1/100th of the great interactions and comments I’ve been lucky enough to have.

Secondly, if you like this blog even just a little bit, but have comments, ideas, thoughts, offers of help, or you’ve spotted 100 typos and want me to get a dictionary, it would be a great time to get ideas and suggestions for improvements to here and Although I might be offline for a bit, I will have a couple of days when I can sit down and think about what I’m doing here, and how I can improve. The best way to reach me is thewayoftheweb at googlemail dot com.

I’d be really interested in anyone also asking questions, or suggesting topics/sites/industries/things they’d like me to cover?

And if you want something to read in the meantime, a kind person has not only compiled a great short paper on Twitter (probably the best and most comprehensive guide yet!), but also referenced 140char in it. More details here.

140char honoured in probably the best guide to Twitter…

It’s amazing how the use of social networks, and increasingly microblogging networks like Twitter, can lead to the most wonderful examples of perfect timing!

I’ll be honest and admit that there have been times recently when I’ve wondered whether I’m committed enough to maintaining two blogs – particularly with the slow loading of the site and admin pages I’ve recently experienced, and the fact that all the other lovely contributors have managed to all get busy with their day jobs at the same time. Plus other sites have started appearing which have developed some of the original ideas for 140char a little further (particularly if they’ve had access to developers!). The most recent example is Just Tweet It, which does great directory listings for Twitter. Plus there’s some great blogs keeping track of the latest apps, like Twitterholics, the overview at Twittermaven, and the always great Pistachio Consulting Touchbase blog.

Plus I’m happy to be getting asked to contribute more and more to various projects at work to integrate social media – and I’m about to take a bit of an offline break.

So it took me a day or so to catch up with the source of a lot of buzz on Twitter – Luke Razzell’s awesome guide to Twitter.

Luke Razzells great Twitter guide

Luke Razzell's great Twitter guide

I know there have been several guides to Twitter, and various posts about Twitter etiquette, but having finally sat down and had a look at Luke’s 11 page short paper, he’s combined being accessible for new users with being comprehensive for the more experienced. It’s also packed full of great examples (all hyperlinked). It really is that good!

And having read through it, I was amazed to find, on Page 10 ‘see 140Char for some sharp analysis of Twitter and its competitive landscape’


I had to check the url twice to make sure he meant me!

So I guess I better keep going! I’ve had quite a few ideas recently around revamping some of the site, and making sure the focus is on something different and complimentary from the other great blogs and sites out there. And there are a few things I think I can offer.

So although I may or may not have the opportunity to update over the next week, rest assured I will be back – and the site will be new and improved on my return (once I’ve sorted the email overload etc!). And there should be some new and interesting bits.

And in the meantime, go and download Luke’s paper. Read it. And then tell your friends, colleagues and readers.

And make sure everyone thanks Luke at @weaverluke.

Twitter – the new celebrity hangout?

There’s been some commotion over the fact Britney Spears (or at least the PR team with her), has a Twitter account to accompany a new blog-type site.

Aside from the fact it’s disapointing she isn’t texting entries herself, and I’m not entirely sure how many of the Twittersphere will respond (1720 followers at the time of writing, only 360 more than your good author!), it’s a sign of a growing move towards the mainstream for Twitter.

After all, I’ve been meaning to post that Twitter doesn’t need a single new member to be perfect for me with the memberships of legendary British wits John Cleese (7084 followers) and Stephen Fry (7400 followers)

Plus MC Hammer has established himself before Britney, with 6019 followers. And sci-fi fans will appreciate the presence of former Star Trek star Wil Wheaton (19504 followers).

Strangely the Twitter Fan Wiki lists Hammer, Wheaton, and anyone else within a ‘Minor Celebrities‘ list. Seems a bit harsh! Perhaps we might need to make room on for a more updated list – particularly of those celebrities who are tweeting for themselves and making a great job of it (Looks like everyone except Britney then!)

Forget the economy – life is great!

Easier said than done, but in the unavoidable discussion of the current state of the economy, I’ve noticed a few people discussing whether things are as bad as people perceive, and which industry will be best placed to surive etc. And in the grand scheme of things, I’ve decided I’m not an international finance expert or politician – so the best thing I can do is to focus on the things I can to do to improve my position as an individual and just get on with life.

For starters, I’m currently cutting down and quitting cigarettes, with the aid of nicotine lozenges, and some positive thinking inspired by the 7 Habits of Effective People. I haven’t gone cold turkey, but after 13 years of smoking, I’m happy that over the last four days I’ve gone from 20 cigarettes a day to four, and then to two for the last two days. I’m aiming for one or less over the next couple of nights and to be smoke free by the end of the week.(I’ve also had plenty of support on Twitter, which is helping!)

I’ve also seen a reward for some effort in keeping up the content on this blog, and on my microblogging site, I’ve recently published an interview with the creator of Twitter advertising tool Twittertise, and by the time this is published, there should be a feature on Mobatalk on 140char. Not only is this leading to more traffic to the site, but I’m also getting to chat with some really cool people who are innovating around microblogging. It means I have more useful tools and networks at my disposal – and it’s inspirational.

Plus I appear to have more RSS subscribers here and on than ever….thanks everyone – it’s great encouragement to try to constantly improve the content and frequency of both blogs.

I’ve also had a fun conversation with someone today, who explained they got a new job recently due to the fact ‘someone’ persuaded them to join LinkedIn. After a bit of prompting, they remembered the invite came from me! And I’ve gained another practical example of how social networking works. (Funnily enough, Venturebeat has reported the shakey economy has boosted traffic to LinkedIn!)

I’ve also finally taken some steps to make my working life a bit easier, and streamlined some reporting which I’d meant to improve for ages, but hadn’t prioritised – it was in the Important not Urgent section of life which the 7 Habits teaches you to work in. And it’s starting to make a difference and allow me to work on some interesting projects and plans without getting as distracted.

And I’ve even got back into Facebook, after a group was formed for some people I haven’t seen in about 15 years – it’s quite funny to see responsible 30-something adults with similar features and the same names as the nihilistic hooligans with whom I spent much of my formative years.

And putting social media in with a shoehorn, there really are two ways to go at the moment:

  • Give people more tools for getting through the current hardship
  • Give people more tools for having fun, doing positive things and escaping the current hardship.

If you’re doing one, or both of those things, you should be on the right lines. The flip side is to stay calm and ensure that you’re measuring the effect and highlighting what this does for the bottom line correctly – the more you can show social media is a cost effective way to help your company/brand survive through any hardships, the better off you are.

One of the things I’ve been meaning to do is to compile the tools available for measurement and reporting, so if you want to recommend any for inclusion, drop me a comment.

What would YOU like from this site

Well, has been running for a while now. We’ve had some great articles written by various people, some interviews with some very interesting people, and some nice comments and links from other sites and people.

But I want to keep 140char evolving, and you’re the best people to give me advice on what we should be doing next!

We’ve already got some things underway, including some new contributors, and some new interview subjects. But what are you looking to read? News on the latest Twitter apps? Examples of businesses using microblogging, or how to monetise your microblogging account?

Are there pages we should add on new topics, or any that you think are utterly pointless?

And what do you think of the overall design?

Please do leave a comment below, whether it’s positive, negative or even expressing indifference! You’re allowed to go over 140characters this time!