Power Off – how a digital detox restores factory settings

“Let’s not turn our phones on tomorrow” I suggested to my wife at the weekend. She agreed and we spent Sunday without them.

As we travel further into this scary journey they call life, it feels like there’s a developing need for us to understand, control and tame our own brain. We might think we’re in control of it, that we power its processes and rhythms, and we decide how to communicate. But increasingly we’re not and we don’t. This is largely thanks to smartphones and all-pervasive technology.

Mental health is broadly gaining more recognition and understanding. From paranoid schizophrenia to regularly feeling sad about everything, it’s a vast spectrum and deeply complex area. We all have a mental landscape of some sort, which influences how we communicate with the world personally and professionally. We all have personal moods and struggles. There are all sorts of ways we might address these: different types of therapy, hypnosis, reading lots of self-help books. My view is that a key one concerns our relationship with technology, primarily our smartphone.

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What That Follower Number Actually Means

We are defined and shaped by numbers. They are ascribed to us and created by us. Age, date of birth, height, weight, income, bank balance, spouses, children, date of death. Temporary or permanent, these digits are all ingredients of our identity. They affect how we are perceived by other people and how we perceive ourselves.

Today our obsession with numbers has taken on mind-bending dimensions thanks to the digital, data-driven age in which everything is measurable. If you have several digits next to the word Followers in a profile, you can be considered A Big Deal on the internet, a success.

For as long as social media has existed, an assumption has been made that bigger digits are ‘better’. The bigger your audience, the higher your recognition from friends and peers, the more popular you are, the greater your chances of success and being discovered, the better exposed your brand, the wider your network, the more likely you can monetise content through advertisers.

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We Need To Talk About Your High Volume Twitter Strategy

physVvirt1Isn’t it funny, how we don’t talk (on Twitter) anymore?.

Over in the US it is said that Twitter is struggling. It failed to add any new users for the second quarter in a row. At the end of September, Twitter had a core audience of 307 million active users, adding just 3 million worldwide during the three months since June. It seems mass market appeal is no longer there.

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Be careful who you follow

followMost online social communities depend upon reciprocation, following the activity of others in order to be followed back; a sometimes blind and urgent focus on simply driving up those important numbers. This is a call to pause for thought.

Much of business today revolves around metrics, data, numbers.  The mass of people online means a wealth of data, new job roles designed to exploit that data and professionals desperately scrambling to keep their skills up to date.  It’s not hard to see why data has been dubbed the oil of this century.

This is largely for the good, for transparency and accountability, for conversions and web traffic, unambiguous black and white.  Close measurement and analysis has become meaningful and arguably most meaningful where it’s most niche, where there is specifically developed software within a sector; where metrics are fluid and have serious value.
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Nice to meet you – is the future of the conference physical or virtual?


physVvirt1Today’s virtual, digital world usually creates a comfortable distance for users.  This is a comfortable distance that suddenly disappears when you’re actually in a conference room with other people.  If you fall into a conversation and grow bored, you can’t click or swipe for them to go away.

Well, you could. But that would be quite rude.

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Mobile’s new best friends – playing nicely?

MDA AnalystsWhile the title of the annual market analyst forum suggested a certain current harmony between the cloud, social media and analytics, a series of analyst viewpoints indicated that the developing multi-device landscape might be a little more complicated.

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Will content marketing replace small business websites?

What's in a website?

What’s in a website?

In a digital world where everything is social and connected, will individual, standalone websites forever remain essential business tools? Or might they come to be replaced by content marketing and social platforms?

What value is there in having a website in today’s frenzied social content super highway?  It might seem oddly simplistic, but the question is relevant.

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How to report online abuse?

reporting abuseWith recent high profile cases leading to public outcry for standardised procedures, the subject of online abuse has rarely found itself under such a spotlight.

How can online abuse be reported and managed?  Is it even possible?  What are the right questions to ask?  Where should the burden of responsibility rest?  Government, police and relevant authorities?  Website Owners?  Internet Service Providers?  Another body?

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Flickr – playing with fire

Playing with fireChange is often met with a wall of anguished screams, especially online when high volume platforms are concerned – namely Facebook and Twitter. Changing something as important in so many digital photography lives as Flickr, that was bound to be a challenge.

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Season’s Greetings

Here’s a special seasonal message for anybody who happens to look here from time to time..

In case the Mayan prophecy comes true and the world ends this Friday, I thought the best use of my time would be to publish a thinly veiled promotional update now.

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