Looking for better blogging

When I originally started this blog under the title of Sunday Latte Lamentations, it was always meant as a little outlet. Somewhere for me to stow away my thoughts on the meaning of 42 and the secret to the universe. A place for contemplation, removal from the bustle of the day to day, and to frankly practice getting better at writing.

To most ends in the early days it served that purpose. And in some aspects continues to do so now. However a number of changes have happened recently which is giving me second thoughts about how best to continue to document these thoughts and feelings.

I am not about to write off (pun intended) the written word. I love words, I love writing, I love seeing language on a page take form, be that a physical or digital one for that matter. So it's not about saying that writing and reading are not for me. However time, editing, posting and frankly taking time to form a coherent argument can be somewhat cumbersome when you are writing online. Time is of the essence, and impact is important too.

What was once a pursuit of self exploration has transformed into an outlet of sharing thoughts and ideas for the benefit of others. There are many unwritten posts sat in my Evernote account, Day One journal and Wordpress Dash that never made it out into the open because I got too concerned with them being "good enough".

Of course good enough is a fairly odd concept when one writes supposedly for the pleasure of it, for an audience he is not really able to pin down or frame in many ways and for whom an editor is a figment of a somewhat over stretched imagination. So it does beg the question, why not post any old drivel anyway?

Well of course if you are reading this then you are a member of that audience, someone who has spared even a few minutes to absorb this little ditty, and so I suppose that question is one for you to answer not me. Why not? Will you think less of me for posting stuff that is not quite as good? Would you come back even though not every morsel set before you here is of Pulitzer winning standard? Sure you might. Equally you might not, and who is to say you should.

It's these thoughts (and certainly they are thoughts without conclusions as is probably by is point becoming painfully clear) that maybe other formats and outlets are a better for oral least should be considered.

I have a slight trouble buried deep in my soul with the idea of filming myself drivel on - about really any given subject. Audio may work better for, the radio background and the tranquility of the spoken word sits far better with me, but do people really to audio files they find strewn across the garbage heap of the web?

In the age where I among others have constantly banged on about content being king, maybe the better question is what type of content? And by content do we really mean knowledge and wisdom or the more McCluhanist thinking of mediums being the true message?

This post isn't brilliant is it... But maybe it's good enough. And maybe you will be good enough to share your thoughts below. Remember - I won't judge you.

Becoming a dispenser

Tokyo, Tokyodome Baseball If you have been to a festival, rugby match, football game, or in some cases even the odd school fete, you will have no doubt come across a strange looking fellow or lass with a large barrel beer or pint of "The Black Stuff" strapped to their back, holding a spout, ready to fill your cup with their hoppy beverage. These things are not a bad idea at all. The beer comes to you and it often turns up again when the glass is empty. Someone one day thought about using the technology of portable cooling, filtration and storage, saw the problem of people cramming up to heavily packed bars in stadiums, and fixed one of the truly annoying parts of live events - just simply getting a drink.

I think this little innovation paints a brilliant picture of what is going on around us now. We can all be dispensers. We all have the potential to use a little bit of technology and share what we have with the world, in a way that is truly useful. So how do you go about being a dispenser?

What's in your barrel?

Working out what kind of brand you have in your barrel is often more difficult that getting out there and sharing it (after all, twitter and Facebook aren't all that difficult really...  I mean if 500 Million people can do it...). Each of us has been packed with a truly UNIQUE set of giftings, skills and a past that makes us full of great stuff. We had the potential to be a dispenser of that uniqueness - and the first step to dispensing it, is know what you have. So take stock of it? What do you have that you can give away?

  • What knowledge? What Experience?
  • What connections? What Network?
  • What assetts? What information?
  • Work out what is in your barrel...

Learn to pour it out

Learning to dispense what you have I think is a two part deal, one if a attitudinal, one is a technical.

First - the technical.

This bit is easy. Just get on with it. Can you write a blog about your experience? Can you create a great presentation and share it on Scribd? Can you create a great set of infographics and get them up on Flickr?

Or can you just meet up with someone to share an experience over a latte? (Above all the twittering and blogging I do - this remains my single favorite way of sharing with people).

Second - The attitudinal

Being a dispenser however requires openess. Openess to be opposed, rejected, applauded, revered, belittled and in many cases ignored. This is a matter of the heart as much as it is of the head. If you are ready to share what you have, then be ready to face up to what people may have to say about it - and if you are really ready to be a dispenser, then be ready to share and encourage that constructive critisism. This is something I have learned and love about some of the best dispensers I know.

Tear up the bar tab

What I have found the most rewarding about being a dispenser, is the one thing that the beer dispensers at a Rugby ground cannot do - a dispenser creates new dispensers. You see - when we begin to pour out what we have into others, we see it well up in them, and sooner or later like when a beer glass overflows people become so full of what we and pour into them, they cannot help but dispense it themselves. now that's exciting...

Your 2pence worth...

  • How do you choose to give away what you have?
  • What are the barriers that get in the way of you living the life of a dispenser?

*I felt compelled to share this thought after a talk at our church @stmaryslondon, by our senior pastor Barry Kissell. Barry spoke on how we can share the Holy Spirit because we each have him in us, and therefore we can be dispensers of the spirit to others. I think this is a reality for many Christians, but something that applies to all people, no matter what your faith (or absence of it).*

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Social Platforms For Dummies

You may ask yourself - what about Social Networks? Well you are right to ask that. The primary reason I have not included them in this list is because there is something bigger going on with the primary social platforms such as Linkedin, Facebook and in a sense Twitter.

As we have seen from the recent announcement from the big 3, these "social networks" are moving in a different direction - that direction is platforms. What developments like Facebook Connect and @anywhere show us is a movement by these companies to a platform model, one where you don't visit their site, they come with you as you surf the web.

This difference is key, and a departure from what many of the services I mention in this Prezi are trying to do, they remain destinations rather than conduits.

During the discussion at Alfred Place that ensued after I delivered this presentation to the staff here at Biss on Friday, and interesting quesiton arose, how many more platforms / hubs can the web truly accomodate. This not entirely is do with size, but more around the need for so many different hubs and spokes.

I don't think we really have an answer right now to that question, but what I think I see happening is very similar to what happened in the world of commercial radio, and to a certain extent cable television and the newspapers before them.

Some of you will know this is a question that I have been exploring for a while, something I call "The Gutenburg Effect", where a technological change users in a communication explosion, followed by a period of consolidation. I think we still are going through a period of mass expansion at the moment, which we will soon see contract and consolidate. How and when that will happen, well I suppose that's up to you...

Sociality, n.

The rules, well maybe not rules, but the ways we share stuff online is beginning to change. For those at the top of the curve (social communication addicts / tech enthusiasts) this is nothing new, but for many (scratch that - MOST) people the changes to what and how you share your life with others may be far more subtle.

The image above, coupled with the announcements last week at F8 (Facebook's Developers Conference) has got me thinking about this, how there are some very subtle nuances about what we do in the online world. For most people whether you become a "Fan" of something or a "follower" or as with the updates facebook are bringing in just "Like"ing something, doesn't play a bit part in your decision making process to make these actions, for many they are just automatic.

There is something deeper going on here I think - a new form of consumerism if you will. For decades since the consumer revolutions of the early 60's (Mad Men anyone) people have consistently been more and more defined by what they buy. That self definition then became public when those goods or services that you have cashed into begin to be publicly on show (i.e. take the car out of the garage, branded shopping bags over plain paper or books getting covered jackets, rather than functional spine-based titles).

However as more and more of these goods and services become intangible (Insurance, Shopping Delivery, eBooks), and particularly the process for buying these moves online we verge on the edge of moving away from this purchase=self definition model. Or, maybe not.

It appears now that as the web moves into the era of the "open-graph", where our online social (and commercial) activities are enabled to be public, shared and real time, a new form of consumerism is being born, one where we are actively choosing to share, like, tweet, buzz or blog our purchasing behaviour. This of course drastically impacts the way in which brands harness these actions, or more to the point proactively encourage them, but I think it begs even bigger questions for consumers - what will be your level of "Sociality" and how will you govern that, what rules are you setting, what is too much or not enough.

How to look after your mummy bloggers

Following on from my post yesterday about our morning spent with Huggies and some of the UK's finest Mummy Bloggers, I thought I would just share this video from @glowstars. Just to caveat, I am not reposting this just because we got a glowing review, but because her perspective on how to engage with Mummy bloggers shines a light on a lot of the rubbish PR attempts that we have seen in recent months.

Thanks again to @glowstars @YoungMummyUk and @Kellyfairy for coming along.

[vodpod id=Video.3334673&w=425&h=350&fv=%26rel%3D0%26border%3D0%26]

The Value Of A Blog

So I have finally succumbed to the idea of setting up my blog in a little more personalised state. So if you head over to http://jamespoulter.co.uk you will find "Sunday Latte Lamentations" in a somewhat under construction phase.

I am setting up on WordPress (hosted by lovely fellow @leesmallwood - a thoroughly decent chap) . Which obviously means a overhall of themes and widgets, but also a re-evaluation of why I blog, what I blog and how I blog.

After a lovely morning spent down in Kent @ Huggies HQ (Client: Kimberley Clarke) meeting some of the UK's finest Mum bloggers (@glowstars @YoungMummyUk @Kellyfairy to be precise) really made me think.

I started out blogging as a way of documenting my thoughts and poetry that I began writing in a more serious fashion about 3 years ago (hence the title of this blog - spurred by a poem I wrote by the same name). It really was just the thoughts, ideas and melody that roll out of the life rhythm that is being a Londoner. However over time that changed and moulded into what my blog is today, an amalgamation of social communication-marketing-culture thing, with a quasi-Christian slant on the world. Which interestingly is never what I set out to be about, it just kind of happened that way.

After chatting to the Mums this morning it appear that my experience is not to dissimilar to a lot of bloggers out there, we all start with a passion, a realisation that others might give 2pence about our thoughts, and a desire for a connection with those who share that passion, but over time things get in the way that dilute that (SEO, Google Analytics, #tags).

By no means am I saying that this dilution is a bad thing, I think is just inevitable, however I do wonder what it is that keeps people like you coming back to read these musings.

So that leads me back (kind of) to where I began, as I re-evaluate the way I blog I would love to know why it is you read what I write. What topics interest you, what would you like more of or less of? Or do you honestly just end up clicking inanely on whatever tweetdeck serves you up? (I know I am guilty of that).

I am not out just to please the crowd, but if writing, blogging, journeying, or whatever you call it is truly about passions, and a desire for connection, then it's always nice to know what you connect with, what you are passionate about, what makes you tick.

So please - let me know.

Countdown to 140Conf London

So just under a week away from 140 Character Conference London. Which I am thoroughly looking forward to. Joining me on the brand panel at around 12PMish will be Rachel Fellows, Corp. Comms director at Kelloggs - you can find her on twitter @KelloggsUK. I also have the privaledge of welcoming Mike Matherson (@mikemath), CEO of Cake Group to the stage and Mauricio Samayoa from wearesocial to join the panel aswell.

For those of you who haven't yet signed up to come along you can get a 50% discount with my "friend of speaker" code, click here to use it.

Thank you to all of you who contributed your suggestions, in particular @jangles and @brynmorgan.

As a result check out:

@nectar

@jamesoncultfilm

@magnersuk

@innocentdrinks

@britishairways

@virgintrains

@guitarherouk

@doritosuk

and

@waterstones - all as a good starting point!

If you have any questions for the panel don't forget to DM me or submit a comment here!

And finally for those who missed it check out http://london.140conf.com/schedule for the full line up!