One Man and His Blog: June 2009 Archives

June 2009 Archives

June 30, 2009

Devolving Ownership for Better Blogging

Goo on my screen
A couple of conversations I've had recently have brought forth a revelation in my holiday-deprived brain. One of the big challenges for media organisations looking to get good journalistic blogging going is ownership.

Now, I'm not talking ownership in the traditional "who owns the copyright" sense - because in most cases it's pretty clear that the employer does. I'm talking about the feeling that most good bloggers I know have that the blog is theirs - their space, hosted by them.

Certainly we've found that group blogs rarely work, unless the team has a close-knit identity and a clue about blogging already (and I must acknowledge the recent work of Stacey and her team in disproving my previous mantra that group blogs don't work at RBI). And, in contrast, bloggers who feel a strong sense of ownership of their blog, and shape it with their own personality and enthusiasm reap the traffic and engagement rewards for the company.
Continue reading Devolving Ownership for Better Blogging.

links for 2009-06-30

June 29, 2009

The QH Evacuees

Download now or watch on posterous
IMG_0698.MOV (2453 KB)

Just testing if I can post iPhone video to my blog directly via posterous.

Posted via email from adders's posterous

June 27, 2009

Talking About Twitter @Tweetcamp

I'm busy at tweetcamp all day today:

It's not really an event for liveblogging, so expect some posts tomorrow.

June 24, 2009

Touch-to-focus on the iPhone 3GS

I was up in Suffolk briefly at the weekend, and took the opportunity to grab some photos with my new iPhone. The church offered some good opportunities to test the selective focus/exposure on the latest model. For instance, this photo was focused on the carving:

St Andrews, Bramfield (head focus)And this one on the window itself:

St Andrews, Bramfield (window focus)I think touch to focus is the single most impressive feature of the iPhone 3GS. It's a beautifully simple way of giving you focus and exposure control without introducing a host of buttons and menus. And in terms of grabbing photos quickly in the field, it's exceptionally easy and intuative.

The camera's low light performance still won't win any awards, and 3 megapixels is low by most standards, but for quick, easy fodder for online reporting, it's pretty darn handy. 

New iPhone, New Inexplicable Flipcharts

Inexplicable Flipcharts
I'm not sure even I remember what I was trying to say with these...

June 22, 2009

The London 2012 Site by iPhone 3GS

Here's the Olympics site in east London, as shot from a train on the new iPhone 3GS:

The Olympics Site, Stratford from Adam Tinworth on Vimeo.

Quite impressive, for a phone. If I had a Flip Mino rather than a Flip Mino HD, it would be right to feel rather threatened right now.

(Anyone interested in the Olympics site might find this blog an interesting read.)

June 20, 2009

Print: Still Good For Train Trips

image1701243177.jpgI hardly ever buy a daily paper these days, but I still have something of a weekend paper habit. And, even with my brand-new iPhone 3gs to play with, I grabbed a paper and have been devouring it on my journey from Halesworth to London.

I'm finding it hard to articulate quite why, possibly because it's an emotional and tactile decision as much as a rational one. The weekend papers evoke the lazy, quiet Sundays of my youth, and the big pages and big pictures are somehow more engrossing than the iPhone screen.

But is this just nostalgia, a transitory state only inhabited by those of us old enough to have grown up in the pre-Internet age?

June 18, 2009

The Times vrs NightJack: Destroying Journalists' Reputation

And so, e-mails and tweets arrive asking what I think of the exposure of anonymous police blogger NightJack by The Times. I think you should probably read the couple of compilations of links that Judith has done on and her own blog. And I think you should probably read what another anonymous police blogger, PC Bloggs says about it. And you should remember that The Times has form here.

But if you want to know what I, personally, think, here it is:
Continue reading The Times vrs NightJack: Destroying Journalists' Reputation.

links for 2009-06-18

June 17, 2009

What Will Media Look Line in Digital Britain?

Ah, the fuss around Digital Britain is growing, isn't it? And I don't just mean the report - I mean how Britain looks in a digital future. Events like a judge giving The Times approval to reveal the identity of an anonymous police blogger, or evidence being given to select committees seem to be marking battle lines between traditional media and the new breed of small, passionate upstarts.

I quite liked these posts written in reponse which give a glimpse into what the media future might actually look like. 853 cites existing south east London sites that need nurturing more than the traditional model:

There's already a variety of different types of community site - has cash backing while volunteer-run Brockley Central has evolved quickly from its beginnings as a local blog. The daddies of them all are Brixton's Urban 75 - run for love - and London SE1, which also incorporates a print version of its local news site. These are what need nurturing, not the busted flushes based far from the areas they claim to serve. All have varying elements of local news, but all have the same stated commitment to their patches.

And Rick Waghorn covers some basic facts of new publishing in a marvellously entertaining rant:

Last time I looked, I had some c35,000 uniques, on average visiting three-and-a-half times a month and when they did, average 'engagement' time was the better part of seven minutes. Varied, by month; by the team's performance - January, when the transfer window opens, we have an absolute ball...

As will the football section of any 'ThisIsSomething' site... big, sticky content delivered online to a passionate, niche audience.
And once unbundled from the broad and damning brushstroke delivered by Ms Enders, those people deliver the kind of demographics advertisers like. I've got the British Army signed up on a 12-month deal; cos our core audience is 16-30 males. Bingo.

There's no rule that says the media that emerges from this transformative phase we're going through has to look anything like the media we have now.

Iran, Twitter & Media Supply/Demand

A couple of people have asked me what I think of the #cnnfail situation, with live Twittering from Iran exposing the conflict there, but the major news networks not starting to cover it until hours later. I haven't really felt inclined to write anything because, well, I'm not quite sure what to make of it just yet. It's obvious that putting the ability to report events in real time into the hands of huge swathes of people is changing what we expect of the news services. That much is clear. The fact that news organisations are falling back on the "what's on Twitter can't be trusted" defence proves that they know there is an issue - and don't know how to cope either.

Clay Shirky's thoughts, available on the TED Blog, are worth considering:

I'm sure that for the majority of the country, events in Iran are not of grave interest, even if those desperate for CNN's Iran info couldn't get access to it. That push model of one message for all is an incredibly crappy way of linking supply and demand. CNN has the same problem this decade that Time magazine had last decade. They simultaneously want to appeal to middle America and leading influencers. Reaching multiple audiences is increasingly difficult. The people who are hungry for info on events of global significance are used to instinctively switching on CNN. But they are realizng that that reflex doesn't serve them very well anymore, and that can't be good for CNN.
And it's worth checking out Richard Sambrook's analysis, too:

Social media can be a huge benefit in news coverage - not least it was one of the few ways for people in Iran to communicate with the west. But mediation by people who understand the story and don't have a particular agenda to advance is still needed to get a grasp of what has, and hasn't, actually happened and a measured sense of proportion. What was evident on Twitter this weekend was the accelerating effects of a continuous news cycle and appetite. Just as 24 hour news channels must stay on air with some kind of coverage, social media is even hungrier. And noise fills the void when events or facts can't.
So. We know that people involved in breaking news can report in real time, from the ground of a major event. They don't need the mediation of journalists to spread their experience. And we know that people with access to those reports are reshaping their expectations of news organisations in the light of it. And we know that waiting hours before you respond to this is not going to meet audience expectations. So, what value can journalists bring to this situation? Ignoring it just isn't an option.

Initial Thoughts on iPhone/PC Tweetdeck

The pace of change is astonishing right now. In the next 48 hours or so we'll see a new version of the iPhone OS and a new iPhone with video recording and better photographic options - and thus a potentially more useful mobile reporting tool.

Tweetdeck 0.26 PCBut Twitter client development is moving even faster than mobile platform development, with a new version of Tweetdeck for desktops and a brand, sparkling new iPhone version realeased this morning. Tweetdeck is many people's preferred Twitter app on the desktop, if only for it's ability to create groups and then view multiple different stream at once. It's major weakness has been the fact that you can only manage one Twitter account in it at a time. Well, that weakness is gone with the new release. I'm now tracking both of my active Twitter accounts at the same time, and that's a huge improvement in its usability.

But there's something more significant in this release, something that ties in very closely with the iPhone release: the launch of the Tweetdeck account. Signing up for a free account within the app allows your column states to be synced between different devices. This means that, in theory, you should be able to open the app on your work PC, your home Mac or your iPhone - and see exactly the same set of columns. This ability to maintain perfect synchronisation states could give the app a huge advantage over clients like Seesmic Desktop - because it reduces the imput you need to keep everything working the way you like. At the moment, it appears that only column and group states sync, rather than accounts, meaning you need to do a little set-up on each device - but after that it all works very smoothly.

Continue reading Initial Thoughts on iPhone/PC Tweetdeck.

June 16, 2009

Flight Bloggers Use Video For Show Round-Up

Two Flight Global bloggers using video to round up day one of the Paris Air Show:

June 14, 2009

Simon Heffer: Missing the Social in Twitter

Oh, yawn. Yet another newspaper columnist has a go at Twitter and social networking generally.  This time it's Simon Heffer of the Telegraph, and you can predict the main beats of the article: shallow, pointless, empty...

At least he avoids the trap of talking about celebrity use of Twitter and focusing on that as the model of use. But he then plunges head-first into the pit beyond, the one marked "misunderstands conversation as publication". And that, in the simplest terms, is how and why so many journalists misunderstand so much of social media. The look at the work "media" and think publication, without thinking how important the adjectival use of "social" is in that context. For all its horrible buzzword connotations, there is real meaning behind the term social media, if only the people who decry it for its shallowness would pause for a few moments to think it through. But then, perhaps they're handicapped. Having spent decades doing nothing but publishing, the idea that conversation might happen in text form appears to be a mite challenging for them.

Still, if the "social networking is shallow" meme has hit Heffer, it's probably all but played out in traditional media. And you never know, in five years or so, he might be writing compelling interviews with its major practitioner, just as he did a few weeks back with Tina Brown and the Daily Beast, a news site which clearly has its origins in the blogging age.

(I'd just like to say a quick thank you to Ian Douglas of the Telegraph Media Group, who dropped me an e-mail with a link to the Tina Brown interview, after I complained on Twitter about its lack of an online presence a few days after it was published in the dead tree edition.)  

The Journalism Debate Needs to be More Prosaic

All Around The iMacI've realised why I've not been blogging here much of late. Initially, I thought it was because I was just plain busy - but that's not true. Busyness has never stopped me before. I think it's more that the journalism blogosphere is, for one reason or another, busy discussing things that aren't where my head is at right now.

The major difference in my life over the past three months is that I've moved from a general evangelising role to a sleeves rolled up, hands on, working with individual markets and journalists role, and that means a lot of the issues I'm thinking about most are more, well, prosaic, that the theory arguments going on right now:

  • How do you get journalists to work blogging into their daily routine?
  • How do you provide them with the right tools in a managed corporate IT environment?
  • How do you create time for experimentation online when costs - and people - are being cut?
  • How do you deal with some of the management consequences of success?
  • How can you move valuable internal experience around the business quickly?
  • How can you expose more people internally to the best thinking outside the business?
I'm pleased to say that RBI is making good strides in all of these areas, but I do find it concerning that arguments we did to death a couple of years ago (paid versus free, bloggers versus journalists) are rearing their heads across the journo blogosphere again, just at the point where doing things is more important than talking about them. 

links for 2009-06-14

June 13, 2009


My first, tentative step into the world of AudioBoo:

June 12, 2009

links for 2009-06-12

June 11, 2009

Movable Type Upgrade

I've just upgraded this blog to Movable Type 4.26. It's largely a bug-fix release, but if you encounter any problems, please drop me a line.

June 8, 2009

#csnf - Implementing Enterprise 2.0 Successfully

2nd panel discussion, hosted by Iwona Petruczynik of Frost & Sullivan

What is web 2.0?

Olivier Crieche: the stuff people use at home and are now starting to use at work
Zeinab Lenton: It's about sharing and community
JP: It's what the web should have been

How to implement?

JP: get on with it. Look at e-mail. How much never leaves the company - is there a better way to do that?

When it goes bad?

Dominos Pizza: reputation damaged
KFC: had to cancel a promotion because bloggers spread it too fast and it was costing them too much.
One clent of Six Apart complained about the lack of feeds in Movable Type - which are built in. The UT department just didn't understand the product.
JP: you need both benevolant dictatorship from top and bottom-up adoption. If cost if repair is same as cost of entry, you suceed. If enough people can inspect information, you can make it good. You need a pincer movement on the immune system in the middle.


OC: use it to monitor customer problems with products, so they can reach out to them.
ZL: Teaches people new behaviours with low cost of entry.
JP: Twitter is publish/subscribe. 2. Is brief. 3. Assymetric follow. 4. 31 million reasons you carry on

#csnf - Krem and creating success

[Switched to iPhone due to laptop battery death - please excuse typos]

Thijs Sprangers of Krem is up, asking why we aren't talking more about LinkedIn. Krem have defined five relationship roles, and think it is important to figure out what relationship your network is serving.

Look where your audience are active already and head there. It's not only business doing this, it's politics, it's banking...

Menno Braakman up now:

POST Method:

Who are your target group and what us their online participation?

Objectives: Determine the goals of the community

Strategy: how will the goals change the relationship?

Technology: Then choose the right social tools, based on the above.

eg Alumni networks are a useful source of business referrals and recruitment. So they built a network for ORMIT Alumni, and connected with LinkedIn. Use the Alumni group on LinkedIn to advertise the functionality of the private group.

#csnf - Lee Bryant and Credit Crunch Culture

Lee Bryant's thesis is that businesses cannot afford big expensive investments right now, but that social tools can give us decent returns from low investments.

Deliver more for less, and investing things that save money
Social tools can rejuvenate old systems by putting a social layer on the top. 
Trust is fundamentally cheaper than control.

In the late 1990s intranets and the internet forked. The Internet went social, the intranets didn't. The internet has had umpteen users testing and feeding back on all its products. The intranet has lacked that evolutionary pressure. IT are rarely good user experience designers, and most people don't care. eBay's reputations system is 10 years old - nothing like it has appeared on intranets yet.

You need to look at the concept of network productivity. Over time, the network becomes more productive. We need to look at that, rather than just individual productivity. Cisco has reduced business planning from 6 months to one week using these tools.

We're wasting too much brain power in our organisation. We spend a lot of money on people, and sit them in front of Neanderthal tools. We also need to make use of hidden data and shared intelligence, like people's searches and click-streams. Microblogging gives us ambient awareness of what people are doing - and thus improve decision-making.

More and more platforms are including small elements of social networking, because these status updates are vital.

People start to negociate meaning for themselves - planned taxonomies are passing away...

It takes one to two years for good adoption and up to five to really transform businesses.

#csnf - AXA Case Study

How do you launch social media in a company where every second of an employee's day is timed? That's the challenge Sonia Carter, head of online internal communications at AXA UK is talking about.

Intensive Customer Experience (love the name, so much room for innuendo...) training courses created great motivation, which wasn't sustained in the office, because too many other people hadn't done the course, and it was business as usual for them. one of senior management asked for "a blog" - was that what he meant? Did he mean that? Or a forum? Or a wiki? How can 12,000 people use a blog effectively?

So they decide to create an online community instead: OurSpace. Distinct separation between opinion/discussion space and the intranet which is the "hard facts", including visual cues in the design. Used a vBulletin forum. Guest hosts lead discussions on particular topics. The CEO as guest host melted the system.

  • 6 weeks to launch
  • £4k to launch, then another £6k for a nice design later
  • vBulletin for forums, Wordpress for OurIdeas - heavily customised
  • You need to hide from/ignore/bribe IT, Security, Risk, Compliance, etc...
Majority of discussion is work-related. Fewer examples of best practice and success stories, more question answering. Using blogs for ideas, which people can discuss and vote on.

Site was promoted during training event, and followed up with e-mail invite. Simple acceptable use policy means little is inappropriate. Only 2 breaches so far in 18 months, one of which lead to a disciplinary. Not bad, given that there are 12,000 people.

Blogging the Corporate Social Networking Forum

I'm busy live-blogging the Corporate Social Networking Forum over on The Social Enterprise today.

#csnf - For and Against Social Networks

James Garner is leading a reasonably robust panel on the pros and cons of social networking.

Panel are Euan Semple, a social media consultant, Trish Hunt from Dell and Dirk Singer of Cow.

Euan Semple - People confuse the internal and external use of social networking. But the line is blurring. I'm hearing more and more stories of people going home to work, because they can be more effective there. Doesn't want to respond to corporate Twitter accounts, because he doesn't know who the person is.

Trish Hunt - Yes, blurred. If you're speaking on behalf of the company, you should have responsibility. (She keeps calling Twitter "Tweeter")

Dirk Singer - First job with internet, they had to collect e-mail, for control. That's gone and will go with social networks,

ES: 10 to 20 years for command and control to go. Social networking is fun but does it add to the ROI of the company? Same can be said of meetings...

TH: People finding that they can share information and avoid meetings is a big benefir, especially if the can come into the office less.

ES: HR is embodiment of C&C backed up by IT - they have the most to lose, but the biggest opportunity.

TH: Disagree. From a  Dell perspective, we're committed to it, but there is monitoring and management.

DS: Survey after survey after survey shows that most companies are taking a different approach, and are becoming more restrictive. Laurel Papworth is a good source for this. 

One of the audience asked about the death of e-mail. Euan siad he didnt think it was dead, but people need to learn to manage it better. Trish agreed. The questioner asked then if e-mail was more considered than Twitter, which Dirk countered by saying that 140 characters forces consideration. 

Biggest Blockers?

ES: Culture
TH: Sales force who think it gets in the way of the sale
DS: Bosses, who don't think it's work. 

#csnf - Managing the Modern Employee

Robert Johnson, strategic consultant at the Central Office of Information, knew nothing about social networking when he took on the talk.

60s: people told what to do without explanation
70s & 80s: more communication and buy-in
90s: Corporation as friend, expectation of employees as innovators. Blame-free, supportive culture. 

We have baby boomers, GenX and Generation Y in the workplace at the same time. Three different sets of people with different needs and aspirations - but the general shift is from telling people what to do to a collaborative environment.

Lots of detail on Johnson's speech - hopefully the slides will be up after the event, because there's more than I can capture here. The summary is that the GenYers with their need for engagement are more prevalent than ever before. People are happier, more productive and more likely to stay if they have good relationships - so you can't ignore the new social tools. But implementing is a complex, many-layered thing, particularly at the social rather than technological level.

Key points:

  • Recognise that sharing and learning are valued
  • Seek out information for yourself
  • Bee a good networker
  • Support others
  • be inclusive
  • Be sensitive to commercial boundaries
  • Use tech to add value
  • Consider their work/life balance.

Niall Cook on Corporate Social Networking

Niall Cook has started his talk with a challenge to preconceptions about social networking in corporates. It's not a case of buying something with Enterprise 2.0 on the box and thinking it will work. It won't. 


Any innovation in history usually is based around a technology that has been around for a while, but it requires a perfect political. social, technological storm to make it work.

The credit crunch is what is making it work. The "R" of ROI doesn't need to be much if the "I" is very small. You don't need to spend millions to get something that works. Our existing internal systems don't work. E-mail is overloaded. Intranets aren't working either. They're not collaboration tools, they're publishing tools and nobody's interested. The more social stuff is the only place that traffic will be holding up.

There's a shift from CEO as God to CEO as guide. And employees don't want command and control any more - they want managed engagement. The research says that if you're employees aren't engaged, they're creative negative value for your company. 

The workplace and the business are changing. It's more mobile, and more information-focused. The expectation of the workforce is greater than ever. They don't go "I'm at work now, I'm quite happy working in this structured, clunky system and then go home and use Facebook." They won't put up with the old-fashioned stuff any more. There's a shift in the psychological contract between employer and employee.

Digital natives are entering workforce - they don't care what impact their technology choices have on the business. Technology is part of their culture and they won't leave it at the door. 

Continue reading Niall Cook on Corporate Social Networking.

Opening Keynote: Suraj Kika on Twitter

Opening keynote is by Suraj Kika of Jadu.

He's compared the massive growth of Twitter (1600% in 2009) with the wholesale shift of people's attention away from mass media to personalised media.

It's been a very example-based presentation so far. He cited #amazonfail as an example of engagement gone wrong - complete silence from the Amazone twitter account throughout. 

The company designed offices based on a blog post by Joel Spolsky, and went on to use his FogBugz software - from follower to customer in less than a year. They interact with many of their suppliers through Twitter. 

They have their own Twitter account - @jaducms

Short version of their approach:
  • Turn your customers into your evangelists on Twitter
  • Put real content out there, don't just market
  • Engage with people
Oh, and it's a great way to learn about the rest of the social stuff that's happening on the internet.

ROI? Already got two strong leads. People are tweeting, so if you don't get to them, your competitors would. People talk about our products on there. Need to be aware of that. If you add it to your marketing mix, you can benefit.

Corporate Twitter versus personal? He has three - a locked personal one, a professional one @surajkika and the corporate one - @jaducms - to which all the company can post. They manage this through the Jadu CMS which provides a workflow and trail. 

June 5, 2009

links for 2009-06-05

The New RBI Blog Central

My Desk at RBI
We've just moved from the 8th floor to the 6th floor of Quadrant House, and this is my exciting new desk.

Web 2.0 Expo Berlin attendees might recognise something on it...

June 4, 2009

My First Post-Expenses Scandal Vote

Lewisham Polling Station
Just been to exercise my democratic rights. 

12 different parties and four independents on the ballot paper, which was the longest I've ever seen. And a pencil to vote with rather than a pen. 


Do you build or nuture communities?

This is all interesting stuff:

you can't build a community it is either there or it's not. You know you have a community if it takes care of itself
YOU are the asset of a community and not the other way around
the best community leaders come out of the community rather than being hired or thrown in
The rest of the summary here is worth a read.

The Year The Media Died

Not to be alarmist or anything:

Well worth watching all the way through.

[via Suw]

June 2, 2009

Life Trumps Blogging

Relaxing in Looe
Especially when life looks like this...


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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from June 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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