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.

#DigiManc Morning Wrap Up (Storified!)

DigiManc LogoMyself and a crack team of social media monsters (@deanseddon @DrBexL & @icthusvideo) have been through a whirlwind 4 weeks setting up an event for Christians wanting to know more and embrace social media. The even came together in 48 hours, complete with branding, lineup, web presences, venue and even catering - and 4 weeks later it's ON! We had a great morning, and rather than me summarising it all - I thought I would hand it over to the community to do this - via the medium of the mighty Storify...

For more info on DigiManc visit the site or follow the #tag - #DigiManc

Social responsibility: Life with 3000 Friends

Twitter IconThis week if the current trajectory maintains I will cross the 3000 mark in terms of twitter followers. Just to point out I don't write this to brag - im not even sure what I've done to gain 3000 followers to be honest with you - but for one reason another I have. The point is it got me thinking about our own levels of personal responsibility over what we do online. I am no public figure, nor celebrity or in any official sense a leader. However I some how feel a sense of duty to those 3000 people and in a wider collective sense to the world to take my place in it with a certain level or care.

We've all seen what power social media, freedom of speech and willingness to speak out can do to the world - this year more than ever and I can't help but feel at some point as a Christian and as someone who is just as concerned as the next guy about our economy, government etc - that it may not be long before I along with all those who are confused, concerned and can communicate will need to join together to help get things done. And when that time comes - I hope I will. And if you follow me on twitter, well I hope you will too.

As is becoming a norm this thought manifested itself in poetic form before I even realised I felt this way so here is that poem. It's called Social Responsibility for all the obvious reasons.

Social Responsibility

What happened when The self righteous are unseated By the murmuring of the crowd The twittering of the unseen masses of minds bending flowing and ebbing as one

What happens when the pedastle crumbles under you When the unseen jibes become the scene that brings it all to the fore the fall too much to bare when you know it was your own whittering that got you there.

What is happening when the digital nudgings of those unsettled and unsettling, spills over into the those who just live destruction. Uinformed, Unchecked and Unkempt let loose on the Unwilling and Unforgiving, who try forbidding the outcry of a generation lost in the postcode bidding war for the riches of those stealing from the poor. What are they all aching for?

What will happen when the ones who finally found their voice have it hidden again? Drowned out by those with so much to gain from keeping the down trodden down and out of the spot light. What happens when we don't see the pain? It is us who bare the shame.

Submerged - #LikeMinds 2011 Series

Today some of the most creative and forward thinking people in the UK will descend on sunny Exeter in preparation for tomorrow's annual gathering of the #LikeMinds conference.

Ahead of my talk on Friday morning I thought I would give you a little preview and invite some feedback on a poem I have written for the occasion, which (depending on your feedback) I am thinking of using as my opener.

In a year that has truly seen social media, the recommendation economy and technology make the headlines this is a little reflection on how I still feel we need to strive to truly be US in the digital space. As my friend Bex always says - what we do online is not some 'virtual' world - we are people on a offline. It's all about perspective isn't it.

Hope you like it - comments welcomed (be gently brutal - Ta).

Submerged

Is news now only what's trending not what rules bankers are bending or what MPs are spending or heartbreaks simple words are mending or crying in the night from voices with no way of fending for themselves

is my truth just what I create or seek to orchestrate like a mad conductor on the run away train of the latest perplexing meme. Or delinquent dream of a different way of thinking - is the extent of my imagination brink-ing? or is it only beginning , seeking to break the 140 character horizon. If so then why do we find ourselves sinking?

drowning in noise whilst searching for a signal drenched in wi-fi & 3G waves hoping to find a single route to what I crave. hoping to link deeper but avoiding any depth. Maybe I need to watch my steps.

Is my over connectedness disconnecting these words from my heart have i been so busy busying that I really failed to start searching for all the answers in all the right places

are my-space's really just books of faces twittering in the silence where no one truly finds. Maybe all I really want is to discover some uniquely - Like Minds.

Why Facebook wants to be your Social Operating System (SOS)

Last night at Facebook's Developer Conference F8, CEO Mark Zuckerberg laid out two fundamental changes to the Facebook Platform, which I think are set to change the social networking game all over again. During the 2 hour keynote, the young founder announced a complete overhaul of the Facebook Profile Page (see mine above) - which will roll out to users over the next few weeks, which features a new layout style called "TimeLine" - described by the developers as "the highlights of your life" - the new layout automatically displays top content from your Facebook profile, for the entire duration of your Facebook life. I.E. - I can now scroll through to the videos / photos / status updates, that Facebook thinks was most important to me right from Day 1 of my time on the network.

Although this feature is likely to get the most attention as it is the most fundamental shift for users on the platform for a number of years - what I think is the real story here is the updated tools for Facebook developers - and therefore media institutions, brands and companies - which is OpenGraph. A new addition for applications developers on the Facebook Platform, OpenGraph moves on from the oversimplified social action of the "Like" button, to giving a far more logical and dynamic taxonomy to social actions on Facebook.

Simply put this means that now I don't have to "Like" something to share on Facebook - an application can have permission to automatically share my actions within that app, in a way that makes sense dependant on the content I am consuming. This means Spotify can tell my friends I am "listening" to a "track", BBC iPlayer (when the app is developed for FB) can tell my friends what I am "watching", or YouVersion (the Bible App) can tell my friends which book, chapter or verse I am "reading".

This addition will certainly improve the online experience for users, however for those of us concerned with the recommendation economy - who want to ensure that our apps / tools / products / brands have prominence on the world largest social network - the possibilities of what can now be done here look endless.

Say I am Harley Davidson (Disclosure: they are a client) - I can now create an app that will track my best rides using my GPS on my iPhone. I can let Facebook know through OpenGraph when I am riding, where I am riding and how fast in real time. But now that app doesn't need to build in the functionality of knowing which is my FAVORITE Route, OpenGraph can work that out for me.

http://9.mshcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/globalgraph.jpg

Another key feature of OpenGraph is the ranking system called GraphRank which is built into the platform - which Zuckerberg claims will completely shift how application discovery works. GraphRank will now change the way a user discovers apps, by showing them updates in their Timeline from apps that are being used more frequently by their friends. Ergo - if my friend Rob, Jack and Ben all use Spotify on Facebook I am more likely to see updates from Spotify in my newsfeed - making me more likely to try Spotify.

All of these new announcements are exciting and truly progressive, and it's clear that the folks in Palo Alto haven't resting on their social laurels. However I think these new developments are merely signals of a wider plan at Facebook. It is a similar ambition that Google seem to have been pursuing for some time with the various projects associated to Android and Chrome:

The Social Operating System

These new "frictionless" experiences, extensive content and business partnerships and open technologies are not aiming to put Facebook at the heart of the web - they are trying to make Facebook INTO THE WEB. Facebook is endeavouring to become even more intimately attached to the social connections and preferences of users. Until now, your friends have been there, your personal content - your photos and videos have been there - but now the rest of the web can truly be there in real time with you. Why go anywhere else? If I have The Guardian, iPlayer, LoveFilm, Spotify and a whole host of other apps right there in Facebook - with all my friends aswell. It seems the new web may well be here. And it's chock full of recommendations. Welcome to the new operating system. It's a social one.