October 2009

…….while we’re on the subject of Twitter, we’re trying to work out the pros and cons of ‘locking’ Twitter feeds?

More and more people seem to be protecting their privacy in this way – @tomjennings just saw an Ovum analyst talking about it – but, to my mind, it kind of obviates the whole point of Twitter being an open environment for communication.

Future Publishing’s Paul Douglas also recently commented that he was surprised to see an (unnamed) PR Agency lock their feed; surely this is a shining example of how locking your feed negates the purpose of being on Twitter; especially if it’s from a business perspective?


@tomjennings, @wonky_donky

Twitter lists is being rolled out and if you haven’t already had the option to create lists added to your profile, you will shortly.

The idea is that you can create lists of followers, much like setting up separate groups in Tweetdeck, to better help you organise the way you follow particular streams.

So a couple of questions for thought…

• Will Twitter lists end up being just another popularity contest?
• Is the next measure of a brand’s twitter popularity the number of lists it appears on?
• Should you be able to opt-out of being on someone else’s list?
• Should you be notified when you are added to a list?

As PR and digital marketing pros; how should we be using lists? In terms of client engagement, should we be working to get our clients on lists? Will it be another measure of popularity and/or influence on Twitter and in social media?

Exactly how consumers will embrace Twitter lists will depend on a number of factors, I think. At first, it will mimic Twibes and TweekDeck groups. Celebrities, mates, news feeds. Also, will consumers abandon lists they have already started, or add to them? Will TweetDeck and other providers now include list functionality in their functionality?

A number of EdelFolk lists have sprung up already. As for tech media, I have groups in Tweetdeck, do you I necessarily want other PRs and journos to know that I am stalking them?


AKQA showed this at a meeting on Tuesday, talking about collaboration and the power of crowd-sourced creativity – all the usual stuff we always bang on about.

But this is incredible. It’s a music video from a fairly sketchy band called Sour. They got their fans to work together to make a video for their new song. It looks like it must’ve been the most monumental ball-ache of an edit, but the end result is truly brilliant.


after the recent curry-inspired song list, we’re on a roll (literally) with some cheese-inspired titles… again, please add your suggestions below!

Feta the Devil You Know – Kylie Minogue
Let it Brie – Beatles
Gouda Vibrations – Beach Boys
Edam, Wish I Was Your Lover – Sophie B Hawkins
Brie My Babybel – Ronettes
Autobahn – Kraft(werk)
Private Eyes – Halloumi & Oates

ok, ok – sorry for the appalling headline  pun… I nipped out for a sneaky glass of wine at half nine the other night to read the paper, but instead bought the New Scientist instead which I do sometimes; nice read but my head would go numb if i read it weekly.

Some very interesting stuff in it this week, some which may form the basis of something else later on – but one news story that i thought was a bit weird, was research that found there was a correlation between the length of a duck’s errr ‘todger’ and the likelihood of that duck getting bird flu. Honestly… the shorter it is, the more likely they are to get bird flu: ‘FACT’ according to scientists.

My immediate thought was the obvious question; about why on earth would scientists even THINK of studying this in the first place – what kind of mental quantum leap is needed to come up with that ‘brilliant experiment’?

I also thought, do you think there are also now lots of ducks, with or without bird flu, waddling around trying not to sneeze as this might be misinterpreted by lady-ducks?

And what would happen if they suggested that same correlation for men? Actually, don’t answer that question…



"i did not just sneeze - i did NOT just sneeze, okay?"



I’ve been playing around with Google Sidewiki today. It got a bit of attention when it launched a few weeks ago, but I think it was announced at the same time as Google Wave, which seems to have dominated the chatter.
A quick summary for those that don’t know. Sidewiki is a tool which is downloadable as part of the Google Toolbar for your browser. Once you have it, it allows you to post comments on any website you like…whether that website wants you to or not. You also need to have Sidewiki to see the comments that other people have made. The picture here is a screen grab of the Sidewiki comment I posted on The Naked Pheasant.

I think it’s great. You can either add a comment to the whole page, or highlight specific part of the page upon which to add your view or additional information. There’s been a fair amount of controversy. You can imagine how some brands are less than impressed with people being able to turn up and write whatever they like next to their webpage. And as far as I understand, there’s no way for a company to get comments removed or edited; they have to rely on the power of the community to vote for the usefulness or otherwise of comments posted which will ultimately rank them.

Thing is, the world of Sidewiki is really, really quiet at the moment. The vast majority of sites you visit don’t have any Sidewiki entries, and those that you might expect to attract strong views are sparsely populated. For example, the Ryanair homepage just has one entry right now. It genuinely feels a bit weird…like when you had reason to be in school out of hours and the classrooms and corridors were strangely quiet.

Sidewiki may never catch on of course. And if there isn’t a critical mass of people who have downloaded it, the lack of audience for comments will result in people being less than bothered about posting them. It’ll simply spiral down the plughole.

But like I say, I’m quite enjoying it. I’m sneaking around the internet leaving random Sidewikis on websites. And of course, unless the site owner has downloaded it themselves, they won’t have a clue that I have. It’s like a bit of secret graffiti.


 The leaders of the 27 EU member states will meet in Brussels this Thursday to thrash out the remit of the new president for EU, with some of the smaller states favouring a low-profile role involving little more than chairing meetings:



Mr Blair is very much in the running to take on this role. His opponents, who can be found mainly in the Benelux countries, do not want to see the job going to a big name and believe that the holder should simply be a chairman of council meetings…….(something which Blair doesn’t really want).  While Poland is arguing for prime ministers to continue to have a key role alongside the president, again to avoid giving him too much power.


The Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, told the BBC that a Blair presidency would be “very good for Britain as well as very good for Europe”.



I have to admit, I agree with Mr Miliband….well certainly with the ‘good for Britain part’….but keen to gather some thought, from across Europe on the latter. So, what do you think, is a Blair Presidency good for Britain and or Europe?


Thoughts below please:


Picking a president

• The first president of the European Council will be chosen by the consensus of the leaders of the 27 EU states

• The shortlist will be drawn up by Fredrik Reinfeldt, Prime Minister of Sweden, which holds the six- month rotating EU presidency

• Each state can nominate up to two people. These will be whittled down to no more than two or three in total for the final shortlist

• An unwritten rule says the top jobs must be shared between member states. Poland, Denmark and Portugal are therefore out of the running as a Pole heads the European Parliament, a Dane is in charge of Nato and a Portuguese runs the European Commission


Back in the day technology CEO’s were the golden children of the business world.  Golden not just in remuneration but the rock star status they enjoyed as they pioneered the wonders of new products that changed the world for the better.  Employees worked all night to ship the latest software, partners queued up to share the stage at their internal jollies and customers clamoured to be made over by technology.  Today the world is very different.

In the enterprise software market the only constant is change and vendors are facing a variety of business, technology and social challenges, which its senior leadership teams have to grapple with. Combined with the speed of change and the complexity of these problems leaders have to battle to build and maintain trust with their key stakeholders against a mood of increasing anatognism towards the ‘traditional approach’ to customer service that many IT vendors have become infamous for – indeed commentators argue that they are losing trust, seen by some to ‘trap’ customers with prohibitive licensing and maintenance contracts. (a fact born out by the number of companies refusing to renew their support contracts and turning to 3rd Party vendors)

To prove their worth these leaders have to become overnight experts in everything from change management to corporate social responsibility and the latest technologies, while not forgetting to hit their quarterly targets in difficult economic times. Hitting those targets is no easy matter – customers are becoming ever more robust in their demands, requiring vendors to work even harder to justify the value of their propositions. While employees’ expectations mean executives have to spend more time ‘selling’ the corporate vision to ensure everyone is focused on achieving the company’s goals.  So today who’d be a technology CEO?  Or to put it another way when will a Grocer become the leader of major technology vendor? Interested in your thoughts.

what better way to start the week than with a PHENOMENALLY good excuse for being late? Me – i forgot to reset my alarm clock to the new time; not brilliant in anyway and instead a bit divvy, but @AlexiaOSullivan has instead set a whole new benchmark:

Computer bag strap stuck in tube doors so had to go all way to Brixton (doors open on both sides but not when you need them to) and back to Victoria again. Will be in by 9.30 tx a

Quite splendid really. Topped perhaps by @WillOConnor’s  claim to be hunting Bin Laden and therefore running late, although we think that he might of been fibbing.

So, what’s the best excuse you’ve had / used? come on, ‘fess up….

I was given a lecture last week on the theme of why we should not be motivated to address climate change by the desire to do good but rather because of a specific business case.  While the green equals green back narrative is an alluring promise from a rational perspective, in many instances it does appear to completely miss the point.   Surely if we avoid the idea that it is a good thing to work for a sustainable environment for future generations and other species then we have lost the battle before we begun.  The response of industry appears to be falling for this beguiling but misleading approach and the technology sector is no exception.


In terms of Clean tech developments the industry can clearly point to a growing area of innovation, new business models and potential solutions that show a responsible reaction to climate change. Governments around the world have pledged to spend around $165bn on stimulus programmes to promote the adoption of renewable energy, according to London-based New Energy Finance, and the International Energy Agency predicts investment to the sum of £10 trillion in clean technology is necessary over the next 20 years to have an impact on global warming.


The challenge is that Clean technology, while offering great promise in terms of renewable energy sources, has not really begun to tap into deeper innovation resources and solutions the industry has to offer. By simply pointing to renewables as industry’s response we also risk missing the point that even these technologies have an environmental footprint and indeed the term is a misnomer akin to saying ‘clean dirt’.  The industry needs to embrace the challenge to invest heavily in the future of cleaner technologies and there is no immediate solution such as clean technology but a need to improve the way technologies create a better more sustainable world.


Technology does a great deal of good for society. The high regard for the industry sector as shown in the Edelman Trust Barometer reflects the way innovation has been directed at Education and wellbeing.   However, the very technologies that deliver this create a sustainability issue themselves.  For example the Internet, a tremendously beneficial tool for society at large, consumes large amounts of energy; a Climate Group report from 2008 estimates that broadband could account for nearly 50 million tons of emissions by 2020, but there is little industry discussion or initiatives on how we can innovate to minimise this impact. 


If technology is to truly present a Green face it needs to move beyond housekeeping and green supply chain initiatives to create IT solutions that allow more sustainable IT solutions.  If the industry claims to be Green then it must move quickly to deliver these solutions as a priority.


Perhaps most frustrating is the fact that if there is any industry sector that has developed specific skills in R&D, speed of innovation and change it is the IT and broader technology categories.  In the UK alone, £1.75 billion has been invested into the research and development of clean technologies, according to the Carbon Trust. The industry has powerful and complex models of innovation, funding, product development design and marketing which, if they were brought to bear on sustainability issues, could clearly make an impact and possibly in the limited time available facilitate the sheer scale of change our economics requires.  Surely it would be a good thing for the technology industry to commit to doing the good thing and work on the longer term business pay off which must be huge?

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