Thinking about God on trains

20120414-114802.jpg I spend A LOT of time on trains. I know I am obviously not the only one. I accept that. But I do spend a LOT of time on trains. On average around 16 hours a week (including tube and train travel). That's a lot.

That's 832 hours a year.

If I were to commute to London as I do now from the suburbs, for the rest of my working life that would be a whopping 36,608 hours!

Even if you are stripping out delays, travel at weekends, trips abroad and up the country and the hours spent going literally no where freezing my ambitions, work ethic, moral and bottom to pieces awaiting a mythical South West Train to emerge on the horizon - spending the equivalent of just over 4 years of your life commuting could to some seem somewhat depressing.

So. A lot of time waiting for, on or around trains.

I am also not the first to lament the interesting, somewhat spiritual nature of Mr Louis Stevenson's creative transportation tool. Philip Larkin was fond of train travel, it was on the long Hals up to Hull where he managed the university Library, that he joule often write his poetry, and some of his best - in particular his observations of different nuptial parties making revelry and dancing at each passing station in the somewhat somber stanzas on The Whitsun Weddings.

I, like Larkin, and the railroaders of the southern states in the 1920s have always found something romantic about good, long winding journeys through the countryside, it's often when my thoughts turn to God, to his creation, to the sense in which we are all on a far greater journey, one that has no rails, but many stations, few passengers yet packed with metaphors.

Of course all too often the joy of such journeys are now, for me at least, harder to come by. All those hours on the tracks are much more likely to be experienced accosted under the armpit of a fellow rat racer or slung deep underground surrounded by tourists more concerned about the nearest McDonalds than what the creator of the universe might be up to that afternoon. But at least, every once in a while, daylight prevails, the fog at the edge of the mind clears and we hear the still small voice of the true conductor whisper to us in even these, hectic moments of the day.

It doesn't happen half as often in the UK nowadays, for one parishioner to turn to another and utter the sentence, which for many Christians may land like a sucker punch to the gut "how is your journey with the Lord going?". At least I know I can always say, well we really enjoyed the 7:38 to Waterloo this morning.

I've joined Lexis PR

Well many of you reading this may already be aware of this, (news travels fast in this game) but I am glad that I am now able to make it public here.

After a short 5 month stint with the wonderful people at Euro RSCG Biss Lancaster. This week marks my first week as Digital Consultant at Lexis PR.

So why the move? Well the past 6 months have been quite a big shift for the Poulter household - moving house, changing jobs (twice now!) and getting married - people have asked if I have gone a little mad, and to be honest I have asked myself similar questions! But it seems that life moves in seasons like that.

Season

The new job holds some amazing opportunities and the opportunity to work with some fantastic brands, from the likes of Budweiser, Coca-Cola, Unilever and Boots. So exciting times ahead!

If you want to get in touch, or pop by for a coffee just shout - james@jamespoulter.co.uk

I'll leave you with this passage from Ecclesiastes, that often neglected scripture, which I think sums it up perfectly...

Ecclesiastes 3

A Time for Everything

1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:

2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build

4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,

7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,

8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

9 What does the worker gain from his toil?10 I have seen the burden God has laid on men.11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.12 I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live.13 That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God.

Facebook, Meetup & Me

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Image by tierramwilson via Flickr

Tonight I am giving a little talk at my good mate @BernieJMitchell's London Meetup Organisers Group, (they are people who organise groups in London using the site - Meetup.com - does what it says on the tin really doesn't it?!)

The subject of the talk and the prezi below is looking at how you can use Facebook and Meetup together to get people more engaged in community groups.

Meetup and Facebook share a lot of similarities so it's great to see how you can integrate the two together. Meetup's themselves have been springing up recently around all sorts of subjects, from the #140conf meetup groups that me and Bernie and others (@LeeSmallwood and @JeffPulver) have been involved with for a year or so now, to groups around Mashable, Evernote and the Huffington post.

Some of the most interesting London groups include:

All well worth checking out... And now for the Prezi...

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Hunting for Twitter brands for #140conf London!

I will be hosting the brand sessions at Londons 140 Conf I've been very kindly asked by good friend of the Ogilvy clan Jeff Pulver to come and host two sessions with brands at the London lef of Jeff's fantastically popular 140 Character Conference.

Therefore I am on the hunt for some ingenious UK brands using twitter for the betterment of themselves, their customers or just mankind in general!

If you are, or know such a brand please send their @name plus a brief explanation to me via twitter or here as a comment so we can start sorting the wheat from the chaff - and try and be original!

The conference itself looks to be fantastic with Chris Brogan joining us live via Skype from NYC and the legend that is Stephen Fry in the room with us on the day! We will also be joined by the likes of Jeff Hayzlett from Kodak and the wonderful Josie Fraser aswell! So we are all in for a treat!

So keep the suggestions coming, and don't forget to head over the conference site to register.

Vouchacha - A recession beating iPhone App!

Location Based Food Vouchers for your iPhone - VouChaCha The voucher code trend has taken London by storm in recent months, anyone who is anyone seems to have used at least 3 Pizza Express vouchers for 2-4-1 pizzas in recent months, let alone the likes of Strada, La Tasca and many other chain, not quite fast food franchisees to boot.

A second trend has been the massive uptake of the wonderful iPhone (of which, yes i am a proud and addicted owner) and the massive expansion of the app store serving every mobile based pleasure you can get your grubby little mitts on.

So what happens when you take the magic equasion of food voucher codes + location based iPhone tech? The Answer: VouChaCha!

A friend of mine who has been working on the back end of this for a couple of months now, and they are near to a BETA version which you can go and take a look at here.

In their own words "VouChaCha instantly delivers vouchers that you can use, wherever you are... Direct to you mobile phone." - Brilliant for techno-foodies like myself.

A few others exist in the market place, but seem to have crappy interfaces ("London Offers & Vouchers") and as such are poorly rated, but this looks like it will be much better - at least sleeker.

Yes this may seem like a blatant plug (you can pay me later Alan) but it's not - I genuinely think this is brilliant, so go sign up for the BETA test email and you can stay tuned because this really looks cracking!

London Twestival Sells Out... Twits, Texts and Tequila

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amiando - LONDON TWESTIVAL - London - Shoreditch Studios - @twestival.

So this week the first 500 tickets for the second London Twestival went on sale, and you guessed it Sold Out. (Kind of give away in the title of the post I Know but come on, you wouldn't be reading otherwise).

Twestival London is described thus:

On 12 February 2009 100+ cities around the world will be hosting Twestivals which bring together Twitter communities for an evening of fun and to raise money and awareness for charity: water.

Join us by hosting a Twestival in your city, attending an event, or participating online.

The Twestival is organized 100% by volunteers in cities around the world and 100% of the money rais

ed from these events will go directly to supportcharity: water projects.

In September 2008, a group of Twitterers based in London UK decided to organise an event where the local Twitter community could socialize offline; meet the faces behind the avatars, enjoy some entertainment, have a few drinks and tie this in with a food drive and fundraising effort for a local homeless charity.

The bulk of the event was organized in under two weeks, via Twitter and utilized the talents and financial support of the local Twittersphere to make this happen.

Around the world similar stories started appearing of local Twitter communities coming together and taking action for a great cause. Twestival was born out of the idea that if cities were able to collaborate on an international scale, but working from a local level, it could have a spectacular impact.

By rallying together globally, under short timescales, for a single aim on the same day, the Twestival hopes to bring awareness to this global crisis.

Great stuff... All well and good. People who like a thing, get together and chat about that thing and raise some money for a great charity along the way.

However... (and please don't come down too hard on me for this because, I personally don't have a problem with it) Why would an online community, one that is largely made up of lots of people connected purely via the internet (at least is my @jamespoulter follow list is anything to go by) want to meet up offline and discuss... what? Exactly. Of course, a networking opportunity. Or a dating chance, or just an option for twitterholics to get out of the house. Either way. Just still seems all a little odd that the unknown little app of a year ago, a truely niché product-come-mainstream is bringing people truely together. I leave that debate to you.

As a way of closing, let me also direct your attention to the ticket facility that twestival are using - namely - amiando .

 

A great online ticket management/event management tool, allowing you to set up an event, sell tickets, post your purchase to Facebook using FacebookConnect. Great tool, easy to use.  So well done. Let me know if you are going. If they release more slots, then I'll see you there, work out what all the fuss is about...