Author Archive

While you’re waiting

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Why did you leave Twitter?

Monday, January 4th, 2010

The most frequently asked question of me in the past 3 months is the title of this post. I’ve gotten about a dozen phonecalls, a heck of a lot of private messages, instant messages, facebook mails, emails (remember them?) and even LinkedIn messages asking me why I wasn’t using Twitter. Some even seemed hurt, the same reaction some gave me when I went off drink for a year.

There were all sorts of bets happening when I headed to Cuba towards the end of October about whether I could stay offline for the 12 days I’d be away for. No hassle at all, though my text bill was massive.

When I returned from the holiday, I logged into Twitter and saw countless amounts of bullshit. There were hapless spammers getting everyone to hashtag Twitter messages about where they were from, wannabe experts on business and social media talking themselves up and retweeting praise about themselves and then the usual keyboard cowboys passive aggressively doing the whole “certain people” stuff. So I logged off for another few days. Nothing you can contribute to those conversations except “Shut up”.

Photo owned by sean_oliver (cc)

The slugtards blogged how I was too busy with work to use Twitter but that, like everything else they do and say was wrong. I deleted and removed some folks on Twitter and added more over the time and a much larger cull is needed before I start using it properly again. I still used it to have private conversations with people over the past few weeks. A few thousand messages since October, Twitter tells me. I’ve been using it as an information source too. Hands down, Twitter is more useful for gathering quality information than the 350+ news feeds I sub to with Bloglines. Human filters work. I was still reading Twitter on a daily basis and favouriting anything I found useful. You can see them here. Some people even subbed to the RSS feed of it. Bless.

Privacy is dead when Twitter is about
Oddly, even when not using Twitter in public, you will still feature in public. Anything you do elsewhere gets mentioned on Twitter by people and this includes media stuff, public talks, blog posts, Facebook status updates and even where you check into on Foursquare. It’s interesting for me that it shows you just cannot be private anymore. Unless the only people you know are not connected to anything or anyone online. Foursquare is a very small and closed network to me yet my activities are shared on Twitter by others and so to the public. When I met people on the street, there were Twitter messages about it. On a daily basis I was part of the Twitter space without being there. Very odd and something to consider.

And more. Most of the social media jesters put up numbers on their blog entries (while declaring it ain’t a numbers game) about how influential they are based on the number of times their posts were Tweeted about. The thing with Twitter is that it’s spambot heaven. Mention social media in a blog post and it gets tweeted and retweeted without you doing a thing. The 25 years blog post got 30 tweets from bots alone. Twitter is the web copied but with viraled content, morphing and evolving into a mess.

Flaming Marshmallows
Photo owned by jronaldlee (cc)

Did I miss Twitter?
And did I miss being on Twitter and conversing? Not really no. Every now and then I wanted to contribute something useful and ended up doing it via private message or emailing the person with the message instead. Or I wanted to tell some muppet to shut up. There was more of that alright. It was interesting to be there though and to be just an observer as all this data flew past. Once you take part, the data changes and corrupts the conversation you observe. It also showed that your opinion doesn’t actually matter in the greater scheme of things. Questions I could have answered would get answered anyway, when some eejit needed to be told he was clueless there was someone else to do that too. This is good and this is bad. It means that if someone in your group leaves or can’t contribute anymore then the group can still function. Distributed power etc. It’s bad for those that feel that they have to be a needed part of a community and need to define who they are in life. You’re not even a number on Twitter…

A friend (who also uses Twitter) believes that there’s a massive groupthink going on in Twitter. This is possibly true. It’s like being at an Ard Fheis at times. Reality gets parked as everyone claps each other. Maybe because sending out an opinion is easy, it’s sent to people who are interested in your opinion and it’s generally without consequence and so these factors combined makes you think somehow that your opinon is divine. There’s plenty of people too on Twitter who say absolutely nasty stuff on it that they wouldn’t have the balls to say in another setting. And they’ll get clapped for it. I’m an optimist about tech and social tech so I think that kind of stuff will all sort itself out in time. It’s still new and developing.

I’ve been back on Twitter since Jan 1st and using it as a plaything but it’s amazing that saying nothing for a while gets so much attention in a system that’s always about lots of conversing.

Fluffy Links – Monday January 4th 2010

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Blag nua o Pól Ó Muirí – Ultach.

New blog. (To me) Izziepoptarts

Another blag nua: Jennifer O’Connell.

Agus another. Triona’s.

Platforms. Possibly and over-used term at the moment but JP has one of the best posts on what they mean by platforms and the potential of them.

Space nerds. Talk from the bravest astronauts ever.

If only every web app was designed with this blueprint.

This sounds like it’ll turn farily abusive fairly fast. Car pong.

Via MetaFilter History of the world through 100 objects in the British Museum. BBC Radio4 series starting on January 18th 2010

Remember the priest that suggested stealing from shops was ok? He gets pelted with canned goods. Interesting protest.

Christmas ruined by … Dublin Airport.

Permanent TSB are saying what about women?

Oh. Deer.

Jump around

W.B. Yeats’ works fall out of copyright today

Friday, January 1st, 2010

70 years after death I believe. So it seems most of Yeats’ writings are now in the public domain. I’m sure we’ll see versions of his works in Penguin Classic style versions which is nice but boring. Given the content itself is now free, it would be nice to see some nice bespoke works being brought out to wrap this content.

19th December
Photo owned by Dan Strange (cc)

And with 2010 being the year of eBooks, digital paper, tablets and the like, it would be nice to see creativity around the digital delivery mechanisms. Maybe Enhanced Editions. A W.B. Yeats iPhone app like the Guardian App? Visuals, audio and text combined and bringing you something new each day perhaps? Or something more experimental and creative like Agrippa.

I wonder will the ad companies latch on to Yeats to sell Whiskey and the like? Bill Murray quoting some lines in a Japanese ad perhaps.

Course this would make a great death metal song:


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity

Ones to watch in 2010

Friday, January 1st, 2010

This is the 4th Ones to Watch list with the others ones being: 2007, 2008, and 2009.

The idea is simple enough, I pick out Irish individuals who I think will do something that will make an impact in Ireland or elsewhere and challenge the status quo. In no particular order they are:

Mark Little
Given Mark is already starting with a new news initiative, this prediction is lazy enough. However, Mark is still one to watch as it is the first time an Irish person with massive traditional media experience is embarking on such an interesting project. The video linked to above might give you an idea of what Mark wants to do. Thankfully it’s not another Huffington Post or a clone where increasing pageviews is the business model.

Will McInnes and Tom Nixon
Will’s related to people in Tipp, Tom looks Irish. Good enough for the Irish soccer team, good enough for this post. Will and Tom head NixonMcInnes and are doing some clever and social things on the web for clients and the greater industry. The company has an amazing democratic philosophy, they care a hell of a lot about their staff and that attitude is the same for their clients and what they do. That attitude is going to influence a much greater sphere and while the upcoming social business trend could be over-hyped, agencies like NixonMcInnes are redesigning companies by helping them to become more social. Social media in the nice form forces a business to be more transparent and when it’s done properly a business becomes better to serve their customers and (hippy stuff warning) make the world a bit better.

Joan Mulvihill
Joan is the new boss of the Irish Internet Association and before getting the job she was doing a lot of work helping those who lost their jobs/were made redundant. I think this is a perfect match as she’ll understand how people and businesses are thinking in 2010. Hopefully with Joan we might see the IIA gain recognition again as an org that represents all businesses that use the web and to encourage more to do so.

Ian Healy
Ian looks after a Leaving Cert website and got a lot of kudos for his insane coverage of the Hard Working Class Heroes event in October. A music nut, evangelist for many of the rising stars in Irish indy music and someone working on numerous projects. Great to see people work so prolifically to help out a section of society. Once he gets the Leaving Cert out of the way let’s hope to see him embark on something a little more fun.

Dena Walker
Everyone’s favourite Mancunian in the Irish digital world. Dena is a marketing and PR whiz while never wearing the cape that the gurus wear. Fun at events, direct and forthright, she’s someone I hope to do some work with in 2010 and hope the switched on companies out there think the same.

Pat Phelan
Pat is a barnacle to these lists, I just can’t remove him. Pat’s 2009 saw him take it to 11 and it seems 2010 is going the same way. MaxRoam has grown and evolved a lot over time and Pat’s way of working without the boundaries of state support and iterating a product and selling from day one is one good example of a way to do business. So will MaxRoam conquer more in 2010? Sub to his blog and see.

Donal Skehan
I hope most people know who Donal is at this stage. Cook, great photographer and singer in a pop group called Industry. Donal has been blogging for years at this stage and is proof that hard work does pay off. His cookery book came out late in 2009 and is all over the place in shops. Think it might have been the first cook book I bought that I’ll make use of. I think 2010 will be an even greater year for Donal. No pressure now mind!

Lisa Pereira
Lisa is a producer with Morning Ireland and the one who has them podcasting, doing live video from the studio and interacting with people on Twitter. Morning Ireland recently won a Golden Spider award for their work online, their work was part-reason why RTÉ picked up the Grand Prix at the Irish Web Awards and 2010 is probably going to be a year where more media outlets and more sections of RTÉ will get into that same aul lark too. Her work so is already a strong influence and everyone is watching to see what MI do next as lots are sure to follow.

0 sleeps til

Thursday, December 31st, 2009


Every now and then I decide to give something up to appreciate it more or to see can I do it. I gave up booze for a year before, it was easy enough, tried to give up meat and fish for a year and lasted 3 months and for 2009 I’ve been off chocolate.

I’ve loaded up on 7 selection boxes (two were presents), some O’Conaill’s chocolate, Lindt chocolate and I was given a present of Butlers chocolate too.


So did I miss it? Absolutely. I’ve been a chocoholic all my life and chocolate has been a comfort, a treat and a mood enhancer for me. Bad mood? Chocolate helps. Want to relax? Chocolate helps. Good work done today? Have some chocolate.

Will I appreciate chocolate more now? Perhaps, I don’t know. I’ve seen how the French appreciate good food including chocolate by taking small bites and appreciating every chew. Perhaps I’ll do that after first biting the head off a chocolate bunny I’ve nicknamed slugtard and swallowing in one go. After that I’ll train myself to take small bites and to chew.

So what am I going to give up for 2010? Well it was suggested I give up bad language, when I told others of that suggestion a mini-protest started. Apparently people like my strategic use of colourful language in person and on Twitter and this blog. It’s much easier to give something up though than take something on, as an old classmate said about Lent before. So maybe I’ll give something up and take something on. I’ll let you know what in a year.


Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Nice take on this song, the album by the band “Yesterday and Today” is pretty good

Fluffy Links – Tuesday December 29th 2009

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Via Kieran Murphy – Married an Irish Farmer. A blog.

Nice piece on what teens really do and give a shit about.

Some pretty interesting mind/body hacks.

Rickrolling someone by programming a phones system. Nerdy++

Good video. Don’t let your genius go unnoticed.

This is cool. So they make cheap computers for the third world but they’re not all standard as they buy in lots of cheap hardware. Amend and adapt.

Via Denis‘ Flickr is this neon books bookshelf.

Nine Inch Nails amazing fan film, better than the real thing.

Remaking Smack my Bitch Up

and 25 years later

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Excerpt from David Ogilvy’s book on advertising:

There have always been noisy lunatics on the fringes of the advertising business. Their stock-in-trade includes ethnic humor, eccentric art direction, contempt for research, and their self-proclaimed genius. They are seldom found out because they gravitate to the kind of clients who, bamboozled by their rhetoric, do not hold them responsible for sales results. Their campaigns find favor at cocktail parties in New York, San Francisco and London but are taken less seriously in Chicago. In the days when I specialized in posh campaigns for The New Yorker, I was the hero of this coterie, but when I graduated to advertising in mass media and wrote a book which extolled the value of research, I became its devil. I comfort myself with the reflection that I have sold more merchandise than all of them put together

I had this quote in draft before I read about the 15,000+ social media experts on Twitter. Last night at the mini-nerdfest in Cork we chatted about that and the number of people out there coaching, empowering and facilitating companies to get into the social media lark. Hell, Mulley Communications made most of their turnover in 2009 from training and mentoring in social media like blogging, Facebook and to a small degree, Twitter. Though I’ve mostly encouraged companies not to take Twitter seriously until they get their web basics right to start with.

For a company to spend resources on any of this, they have to have goals and objectives to measure too. So while some of the social media ninjas (seriously they call themselves that) will tell you that in social media you can’t measure objectives and to enjoy your new emperor-like clothes or others tell you that once you get a social media certificate you have free reign to be an idiot online as you have your badge, there are growing numbers of people who will tell you the reality.

Everything must go
Photo owned by janetmck (cc)

This is a whole new world to most business people so they’ll latch on to people who call themselves experts and gurus that give them a checklist on how to appear genuine online (one such millionaire social media guru has such a list). It’s lazy by the business people to do this but they’re used to buying in communication skills and shortcuts. They might get burned and they’ll react badly but as all of the hype normalises and social media is as background as email then many of these shysters will disappear or more likely will attach themselves to the next hype curve. WAP experts, Y2K consultants, SEO experts, Twitter coaches will always be around in some form and many of them will be quite rich.

Closed businesses always react badly to change, miss the boat and then pay handsomely to catch up while still being afraid of the future and of course there are groups always willing to prey on that. 25 years since the above quote and it’s cycle after cycle. So maybe we shouldn’t react to the social media gurus who will be social business gurus in two years but instead react to closed-minded businesses that fuel this?

Santa: Believe but don’t believe all

Friday, December 25th, 2009

Rejected by Alexia for her Selection Box series.

Proud drinking in public ticketholders
Photo owned by Tirch (cc)

Do you know that Apple and Steve Jobs have modeled themselves on Santa? Fact. Steve did in his eye go to India and come back enlightened, he was in the North Pole. It’s not Steve Jobs that’s the best CEO and marketer around. It’s King Fatty himself and his Santa Corp. Creaming billions every year while being outside of the law. Even NORAD clear the skies for him.

The greatest trick the devil played was convincing the world he didn’t exist. So said some shortarse famous actor in some awful film. Santa Corp exists, is pretty much as bad as the mafia yet nobody does anything about it. How’s that for owning the market?

Some facts:

  • Santa Corp controls their comms very very strongly. What’s the last negative thing you’ve heard about Santa apart from being fat? Steve Jobs’ secrecy and paranoia is merely a milquetoast version of this.
  • Santa gets the kids and the adults to market his product, building an air of mystery. Yeah forget the Apple Tablet and all that. Santa Corp is hype central, again, Apple making their customers do their marketing is not a new thing.
  • Elves are real. In a squint your eye kind of way. Pretty much starved and inbred natives of the arctic circle who have been working in icey sweatshops for decades. China and Apple ain’t got nothing on this guy. Outsourced assembly is Santa Corp mastery.
  • North Pole? Tax haven. Centuries ahead of Cayman Islands, Liechtenstein and even Ireland. Google might dump their profits in Ireland but there’s no tax at all up frosty way.
  • Tech support? Haha. No email, no phone number, no IEDR style fax. They only receive handwritten letters and only from kids sending requests. All other chimAir letters are shredded and used as bedding for the reindeers. While Apple got close with their brainwashing that everything is fine, even when the machine spits oil at you, people still get refunds and replacements from Apple. Money only goes into Santa Corp.
  • Santa is 157 years old. 5 livers, 12 kidneys, 23 facelifts and niptucks. 2 livers Steve? Catch fucking up you veggie freak and eat some reindeer and the odd elf.

Merry Christmas you …