A trade journal of a still-emerging field, written by Adam Tinworth.

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Yesterday, I returned from my best holiday in years, refreshed, revitalised and ready for the challenges ahead. Our blog platform needed revamping, there was a ton of mobile strategy work to be done, we needed to brainstorm easy win funnel content for one of our magazines, we needed to press on with our new comments system…

…and the company politely informed me that I wouldn’t be doing any of this, and, indeed, my employment would most likely be coming to an end. The normal discussions are underway as to possible alternative roles, but the chances are that sometime soon I’ll be looking for new employment. I won’t deny that I’m sad about this – the last five years have been the happiest of my working life. But times change, things move on, and in a sense, I predicted my own redundancy. I’ve long argued that one of the things that publishing businesses need to do to stay competitive in the new era was reduce the burden of central costs. Somehow, I never quite saw myself as one of those burdens, until I was reduced… 😉

I hope that new opportunities will open up for me. I’m one of a limited pool of people with half a decade’s experience in transforming content businesses, through a mix of technology, training, mentoring and outright evangelism, and I’m confident there’s someone out there who will find those skills useful.

So, if you need someone with any of these skills:

  • 10 years’ experience of blogging
  • 5 years’ experience of training journalists and industry figures in all forms of social media and digital journalism
  • Extensive work on content strategies, especially the role of journalism and social media in funnel marketing
  • General publishing strategy
  • Online profile building
  • Particularly skilled in liveblogging
  • Recent deep work on mobile strategies and propositions
  • Editorial technology research, acquisition and deployment

…feel free to drop me a line on [email protected]

I’m refreshed, revitalised and ready to bring my skills to bear on new projects…

Google+ Page

Social media brand ninja guru wom marketers everywhere are rejoicing in a slightly lacklustre way today, as Google+ introduces Pages for businesses and brands, allowing the corporate world to join in on the Google+ fun. Of course, it remains to be seen if Google+ gets enough mainstream traction to be worth the time and effort you would need to build a brand presence there. Google remains heavily invested in the product, integrating it into both its main search product and Google News.

And as part of the launch, we now discover why Google removed the + operator from its search:

Google+ Direct Connect lets you quickly navigate to a Google+ page (and even add that page to your circles) when using Google Search. For example, if you searched for the query ‘+youtube’ or ‘+pepsi,’ you could be immediately taken to the YouTube Google+ page, or the Pepsi Google+ page, and given the option to add the page to your circles.

I’ve set up a page for this humble old blog, and you can Circle it, if you like, by clicking on the very, very red button below:

Fireworks over Blackheath

A decade ago, almost exactly, I pressed publish on my very first ever blog post, entitled “Falling Towards 30“, and sat in quiet amazement in my study in Lewisham. I’d pressed “publish”, and the post was live. Just like that. No HTML editing. No teams of editors to approve it. No waiting for the twice-a-day “publish”. My words were there, on the web, as easily as that.

It wasn’t the first time I’d published to the web; indeed, I’d had websites of various forms for probably 5 years at that point. But this was something different. The sheer ease of the Livejournal interface, the comments that opened up at the bottom of the page, the speed of publication. These were all new to me. All of a sudden, web publishing had moved from a techie pursuit to anyone with access to a service like Livejournal, or Blogger, or the brand new Movable Type. I pressed publish. I looked at the post. And then I got up and spent the afternoon tidying up the flat, ready for the arrival of my girlfriend. We were off to see the fireworks on Blackheath, which you can see above. And I had no clue that my life had just changed forever.

10 years under the blog

Within five years of that day, I’d be working full-time in blogging. I’d have attended one of the earliest political blogging events in the UK, and chronicled the day terrorists hit London. I’ve got engaged and married. I nursed my mother through cancer and death. And a hundred other ideas and discussions and conferences and events, and vast blog controversies. It has been one hell of a decade.

And yet, it’s easy to forget in these days of Twitter and Facebook and all the other services that make some form of personal online publishing so trivial to do just how revolutionary this all felt back at the beginning of the century. While certain forms of social software had been around for a while even in the late 90s – Usenet, bulletin boards, forums – blogging opened up a new form of “owned” site and the combination of the permalink and the comments beneath brought a new form of distributed conversation to the web. This sang to me back then. I was chafing under the bondage of traditional forms of journalism, the impersonal language, the inherent distance from the audience, the lack of control a minor section editor had over what appeared in print each day.

On the blog, my work lived and died purely on my own choices, my own merits and that of the work I created. And that was addictive. Was? Is. The launch of this blog was still a good 18 months away, but I stand by the name of it. There’s something pure and visceral about one man writing one blog, determining the content through his own preferences and choices, and expressing it in his own voice. All the most successful blogs I’ve been involved with in the latter half of the decade have followed that model – one person expressing their passion through their personal means of expression – even if they’ve evolved into more of a group format later.

Moving beyond blogging

Many people will never need a blog now. The idea of one man, one blog has been superseded by Twitter (I’ll hit five years on that next month…) and Facebook and other forms of more accessible social media. Compared to them, blogging is hard work. But for those of us who like to express ourselves in long form content and annotated quotes and links, there’s nothing quite like a blog. One man, one blog, my blog.

And now I’m sat writing this, nearly a decade later (I’m cheating by writing this the night before…) in my front room in Shoreham. The computer and the software I’m typing into would be a revelation to my younger self. But I’m still here, still blogging, even as I fall towards my 40th birthday. I’m better at it (I hope…), and certainly less tentative. But I’m still as enthusiastic about it as ever. There’s still a buzz, a certain magic, in pressing that publish button and in letting your thoughts and ideas join in that vast global conversation. It might be a bigger conversation now, and noisier, and harder to make yourself heard in. But it’s there, and it’s happening and it sure ain’t going away.

I may be falling towards 40, but I sincerely hope – and believe – that I’ll still be blogging in some form or another as I’m falling towards 50.

Thank you – and please keep reading

Thanks for reading, especially that tiny handful of you out there from the Livejournal days who read that very first post of my when it hit the web.

Reader Revised

Today has been filled with people howling in protest at the changes to Google Reader – and I just didn’t notice the difference. But then, I rarely actually log into the interface; the majority of my consumption is done using the Reeder app, which is available on Mac, iPad and iPhone
I’m not a great user of the sharing features, and while I do subscribe to some people’s shared items, that’s been more annoying than useful of late (which suggests I should have pruned my list a while agi, but still…) and so those changes weren’t of huge impact to me. But I did log in and have a look at how the new interface works. I had great hopes – I like the Google+ interface and the related Gmail revamp, as they feel clean, readable and pleasant. 
But, wow, have they botched the Reader interface. For some reason, they seem to have taken more design notes from GMail than Google+, and they’ve ended up creating a reading experience that is truly atrocious. A former Google product manager articulates why rather nicely
My “24 hours using the New Google Reader” experiment lasted all of an hour, before I scurried back to Reeder. The interface makes the main river of news so small and undifferentiated that reading becomes an effort rather than a fluid process. And keeping up with a large number of information sources is such an integral part of my workflow these days that I just can’t afford the extra time using the new-style Reader demands of me.
So I hope the new Google+ / +1 style of sharing makes its way into the API and into Reeder? I sure do. I like Google+, and I’m more than happy to share content there. That part’s fine. The interface revamp is a mess, and needs to be rethought, fast.