Archive for the ‘blogs’ Category

Bringing back the blogging mojo

Saturday, August 6th, 2011

I’ve been so busy with work the past year that the blog, what was the number one thing in my life when I was a total saddo, has suffered. Not just the blog though, creativity as such has generally suffered. In the past few weeks I had enough free time to start blogging again but I didn’t really have any grá to do so.

A factor definitely is I’m still in wind down mode but the lack of “creative” writing for months probably has made it harder to start typing nonsense again. The past few months, all typing has been around meetings, scheduling talks and so on so that maybe is what the brain associates with it now.

So how does one get back to writing for fun and getting something out there? There are some cheats or shortcuts that are working for me right now.

A trickle helps
The fluffy links, irregular as they are still at least make me feel less guilty. The body of the blog is still warm, were it dormant for months, I’d probably move on completely. Twitter in a way probably promotes this let the fucker die mentality as the bits you could trickle out on the blog are fine for Twitter.

Mix and match little bits
When I started, a bit like Fluffy Links, I’d link to something and add a comment. I’ve started to do that. A quote from a movie (such as The Killing) and a music video you recently watched. Maybe it doesn’t have you writing profusely but it has you thinking and considering.

Easier bits – Interviews
I’m in the middle of emailing people questions and collating answers about a few topics. Banging out some questions on a topic, sending it to others and soliciting their opinion is easy enough to do. A bit of processing of the data, presentation and packaging and you have good enough content without writing a while tome. When you’re done, you have a reward. A small accomplishment but a good one nonetheless.

Go down that rabbit hole
Finding and learning is a reward. On the Kubrick theme, I watched Barry Lyndon this week and a tune from it was very familiar and I didn’t know why. Why did I know this? The Chieftains, Mná na hÉireann.

And when I Googled that I found out the Christians used it as the backing track to their song “Words”. But it got me looking at music by Seán O Riada which sprung to something else to something else and now a complete and total clatter of topics and ideas are swirling around. That’s how you get new cocktail combinations or new food combinations. By the way, Peanut and Celery soup is beyond divine. Rhubarb gin and tonics are the bomb too.

Get the “inspired” bit in the brain going
I think the part of the brain that does the “ah ha” bits when you are blogging and combining these new things together to make something new (and so fires nice neurochemicals about), is close to or maybe is at the same part of the brain that goes “wow” when experiencing new relevations from a book or documentary. It’s slightly artificial but maybe to get yourself going, you can kickstart things.

With that in mind, I installed the TED iPad app and started watching some random TED lectures, areas I might not be interested in. Algorithms, I despised maths, yet that TED talk was fascinating and all kinds of sci fi esque ideas came to mind from it. They’re gutting buildings in New York to fill with servers to tilt the stockmarket, they’re going to build islands in the middle of oceans to allow software programmes to be more efficient? We are overlords to pieces of math now? Wow. A robot bird that flies like a real bird? Wow again. And off we go writing.

You can then always log and describe the process that got you to your current destination. Which is what his post is about. Oh look: Log. Weblog. Blog. And all of a sudden you have lots of words and freed lots of different ideas into one space. No matter the grammar or the structure for now. You can get back to that later. Now in the middle of writing that experience you seem to have come up with a few other ideas or tangents that could make it into another few posts.

Done. Not sure am I back as yet but I’ve started.

BlogTalk 2010 – Galway – August 26-27

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

BlogTalk 2010 is back again in Galway. Registration for BlogTalk is €149 for two days (early bird). There are also have student / unemployed / one-day rates too.

Some of the speakers include:

  • Dan Gillmor (director, Knight Center): Activist consumers and responsible media creators in a networked age
  • Stowe Boyd (social tools authority): Social media blur: blogs, networks are turning into real-time streams
  • Don Thibeau (director, OpenID): Open identity for open government
  • Charles Dowd, Sonia Flynn (Facebook): The Facebook Platform
  • Ade Oshineye (Google): Social networks versus conversational networks

Full breakdown of talks.

Might be worth a visit for Dan and Stowe alone.

And these are the questions and answers

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

The Sunday Times got on to me about a piece they were doing on blogging and asked me a few questions. This is the resultant article that once again tries to put those damned bloggers in their place. (This is the same paper by the way where a staffer anonymously on my blog said I was on the payroll of Hell Pizza because I blogged that I liked their pizzas but they still come calling when they need on and off record information on articles they write). They really don’t like Twenty do they? Is anyone keeping track on how many articles in the paper by a few journos (Oh hi Mark!) are inspired by blogs in Ireland? Or as the Sunday Times puts it: “squawks of online indignation if newspapers steal their material without credit.”

Update: Forgot to add that this is how they described what the piece was about: I’m researching a feature for The Sunday Times this weekend on the role of the political in Irish public discourse

Below are the questions asked and my answers.

> (1) Would you agree that few Irish blogs (other than Irish Economy) have made it into mainstream public consciousness?

I’d disagree. girls have a regular slot on Gerry Ryan and write a column for the Herald Nialler9 writes for the Indo’s entertainment mag Donal Skehan from Good Mood Food writes a section on food for the Indo weekend section I actually think bloggers are over-represented in media given there’s a few 1000 active blogs in Ireland

> (2) Does any Irish blog/blogger make money? was Irish and was acquired by and the guy who ran it works for them too I believe. have an agency you have to talk to in order to put an ad on their site! I know some put ads on their personal blogs but I think that’s pretty vulgar but that’s me. Businesses are making money from having a blog, Komplett are making 6 figures from it and expect to make 7 figures.

Myself and others I know make money indirectly. We have nothing to sell or buy off our blogs but it establishes authority and credibility and leads to brand recognition and people recommending your services to others. I’ve lost count of the number of consultancy gigs I got from a reader of my blog who recommended me to a friend or their boss. A few of these people I’ve never met at all, we just know each other via blog comments.

> (3) Is Ireland too close-knit a society to need blogs – ie do we not just chat to each other down the pub?

Irish people use every communications tool going. Pubs and chat there, phone, text messaging (we send more texts than most other countries in the world), 1.2M of us are on Facebook and 900k of us log on every day to communicate and possibly remove drunken photos of ourselves. We sing, write, paint, I think we get hooked on every form. Blogging has definitely slowed down the past while as all these other tools that allow us to communicate have come along.

> (4) Have a lot of bloggers, in your experience, migrated to social networking sites and Twitter?

Yes, some have given up the ghost completely, some have gone from daily updates to weekly or monthly. It’s a bit like when texting came about. It has a massive impact on people making phonecalls.

> (5) Isn’t it unsatisfactory/annoying/disheartening that Twenty Major will get 50 comments for a posting “John O’Donoghue is a cunt”, but Gavin Sheridan will get none or 1 comment for a brilliant analysis of Nama?
> And even if none of the above, isn’t it reflective of the blogging/internet debate experience?

Everyone has their niche I suppose. TheStory is fine for posting up dull FOIs with a conspiracy theory hook to them. There’s a space for that. If you read the posts though, they are more like a noticeboard than something that really engages. Compare that to Twenty Major which is populist with a subtle intelligent analysis of current affairs. More people join in on the posts as the posts generally encourage discussion, even if it is to shout at TDs. Interestingly though, the traffic and numbers don’t matter as much online as it’s more about the quality of people. TheStory being read by both journalists and politicians means a post there might have way more impact than if Twenty blogged about the same topic.

> Damien, these are just generally areas I’m exploring. Wd welcome your views on any related themes re. the blogging experience in Ireland

I think blogging has actually become even more niche as time has moved on. More people are online, way more are communicating online but while Facebook goes from 400k users in January 2009 to 1.2 Million by the start of December we still have 4-5k blogs in Ireland. I think it’s good that there are now more ways to communicate than just blogging but they still have amazing reach if people use them effectively.

This blog

Monday, November 24th, 2008

The control panel tells me:

You have 3,435 posts, 9 pages, 54 drafts, 2 scheduled posts, contained within 21 categories and 5 tags. You have 16,849 total comments.

That’s a lot of words.

Something like human...
Photo owned by guiguibu91 (cc)

NaNoWriMo: the niche
Photo owned by mpclemens (cc)

Business Blogging, Online Marketing training in Dublin

Monday, September 29th, 2008

Feedback from the talk I gave last week for the Irish Computer Society has been very good, thanks to the few dozen people that came along and who might now be reading this blog! The lunchtime talk was a taster for two training days I’ll be doing for the ICS. One is on Business Blogging and the other is on Online Marketing.

lining up
Photo owned by saragoldsmith (cc)

If you didn’t realise that changing the titles of your pages on you website can drastically improve your Google ranking, that your blog can potentially get you book deals, that paying for Google ads for your website name is a bit of a waste and that despite Bebo being horrible and rash inducing in adults you have to be there to market to those under 22, then it’s worth coming along to these courses. Both courses plonk you in front of a computer too so you’re doing practical stuff, not just watching me in front of 300 powerpoint slides.

I think there’s also a special price deal for non-ICS members and also if you book the two of them. Give the ICS a call if you do want to attend. They are the only Business Blogging (October 15th) and Online Marketing (October 29th) courses I’ll be doing until next year in Dublin.

Yemisi Blake
Photo owned by Yemisi Blake (cc)

If you can’t be interesting, be useful

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

Via Roo Reynolds was a talk by the amazingly interesting and wizard of interestingness – Russell Davies and one of the things Russell suggested was be interesting and:

If you can’t be interesting, be useful

There have been a tonne of blog posts about the drunkathon that was last Thursday evening at Spy but for me the most interesting post was by Daragh Doyle. It answers the first part of the above quote. Darragh did a brilliant A to Z of the evening in pictures and verse. Imaginative and informative. While all the other blog posts about it were great, this stood out a clear mile. That’s one way of being interesting.

Fricking laser beams

RTE’s Recipe For Success wants foodies to contribute

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

RTE Cork are currently in pre-production for a new food and business programme called Recipe for Success where they invite amateur cooks to submit their original recipe ideas. The best ideas will then be selected and participants will be invited to present their recipes to a well-respected Irish food businessman who will over several weeks select a winner. The winner will then have their product sold in the Supervalu.

The closing date for applications is 26th September 2008

Receipe for Success

For further information please email the show at

Or write to them at:
Recipe For Success?,
Father Mathew Street,

Things you can say on a blog that you can’t to your “public”

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

Sometimes you can be more open and honest with strangers than with friends and family. What can be too much information for a friend isn’t for some strangers. I think many blogs are handy confessionals, like post secret.

Unfortunately my friends who don’t blog are now reading this blog and many who read this blog have become some of my best friends so I seem to be hamstrung just a little when it comes to making this a dear diary thing. But almost like the way people ask philosophical-like questions at 4am while being half-stoned, why not go and ask in public a question or thought you had but kept to yourself?

Here’s my contribution:

How come within minutes of eating asparagus, your wee smells of it? It’s the same for coffee.

grilled asparagus
Photo owned by woodleywonderworks (cc)

Oh what, you thought I was going to be high brow or intellectual? Pah.

Gav’s Guide to installing WordPress

Monday, July 28th, 2008

Deserves a post all by itself. Nice guide from Gavan on installing WordPress on your own site. Only slightly technical abilities are needed.

Happy 200th to 73man

Friday, December 14th, 2007

200 posts down. 2000 more to go.