Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Real time is not fast enough these days

Some of you may have seen my Tweet from a few weeks ago that said:

First it was about blogging what you've done, then Tweet & 4Sq what you're doing, now its Plancasting what you will be doing... what next?

This is in relation to the evolving change of the social web, from a reporting medium (such as this blog) to a real-time communication system (via Twitter streams) and then potentially onto a way of scheduling what you're going to be doing.

To try this out I've tried 'plancasting', a site where you say where you will be and when you will be there. The aim being that you can coordiate your activity with others. However not everyone is using these tools yet and to a certain extent the jury is still out on whether the future planning of your activity will gain mass adoption.
Also to be frank... it does kind of take the flexibility out of your plans when you've told all your followers (and therefore potentially everyone and also nobody at the same time) when and where you will be. But who knows... it could become the next big thing...

To perhaps quote the Sci-Fi writer William Gibson might be most apt: "The future has arrived, it’s just not evenly distributed yet"

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Agile Digital Strategy - part 5

This is the fifth part of a series of postings about Agile Digital Strategy. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 & Part 4 are already available.

But just having a 'general direction' is not a strategy, it is just that.... a guide on the approx area to follow (note: I also assume this direction exists in a number of different dimensions or business areas, not just in one single thought or plan).

Thinking of this direction as a beam of light showing the way, it can be seen as a way of encouraging thinking (and therefore development) and illuminating a permitted path to follow.

Keeping this light analogy... you can therefore narrow the focus of the beam (e.g. constrain the development to specific direction - perhaps only for a short time to concentrate on a particular set of deliverables) or broaden it out (and therefore allowing a wider range of approaches and ideas - such as when you need a different perspective or need to diversify)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Russell and Bromley launch a new website

It has taken them at least 5 months, but Russell and Bromley have now launched their new website.

So is this site a full-featured, cutting-edge, commerce offering with the latest functionality to entice visitors to buy or visit the stores? No!

It is actually a very simple site with a basic design and layout that like minimal thought has been applied to its appearance and impact.
The product areas are animated sequences that just rotate between a few 'model with product’ images and a price for each in the bottom right hand corner. There’s no content or sizing information and they seem to have forgotten they also sell children’s shoes as well.

The ‘Contacts and Stores’ location section has a single page with a tightly-clustered alphabetised list of their stores with their telephone numbers (in a small italicised font). This shows no actual thought to the user who wants to know the address, let alone a link to a popular mapping tool for them to find the outlet.

However, it’s the ‘Career Applications’ main navigation item that probably took the least amount of thought. This is just link to PDF document that is over 250k in size and is obviously there to encourage psychic applicants as there are no instructions on what to do with the form (I guess you post it off to their headquarters in Bromley, but there’s no way of knowing who you should address it to).

Oh, there’s one final thing….. the site has been built entirely in Flash technology.
So there’s no possibility of viewing it on an iPhone (who’s owners might possibly be the trendy types to shop at the store) and is therefore not helping their accessibility or Search Engine Optimisation cause.

Just what were they thinking?

in reference to: Russell & Bromley Spring Summer 2010 (view on Google Sidewiki)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lonestar Comedy Club website

I've spent the last few years spending time on the South coast of England and have made some great friends there. One of those is Ian Stewart, who also runs the Lonestar Comedy Club in Folkestone (and now several other towns around Kent).
This website that I've built gives the future dates of shows, the acts appearing and also the ability to buy tickets online.

in reference to: Home - The Lone Star Comedy - Folkestone Kent (view on Google Sidewiki)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Owning your own site

If you still haven't claimed your own site in Google's Sidewiki, then you have missed the chance to market your site to a small but important section of web users.

As I've previously explained, as the page owner you get top billing and leave a special Sidewiki entry on pages of your site.

Now you can even opt to leave a master entry for your entire site or just create page-specific entries to different types of visitors.

So what's stopping you do this?

in reference to: Press 2.0 - Communications in a digital world (view on Google Sidewiki)

Agile Digital Strategy - part 4

This is the forth part of a series of postings about Agile Digital Strategy. Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3 are already available.

So, if 'industrial age' thinking is too slow and 'dotcom' thinking isn't structured enough, what's the answer?

Well, a hybrid of something between the two. Something that provides a framework for agile and short release cycles, but yet has a structure and direction behind it.

Such a framework allows for some incremental delivery over time, whilst embracing the fast pace that is possible in web development and giving some flexibility in that process.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Agile Digital Strategy - part 3

This is the third part of a series of postings about Agile Digital Strategy. Part 1 and Part 2 are already available.

For those who lived and worked through the gold-rush and the subsequent bursting of the bubble, it was a frantic and intoxicating period of rapid product releases and constant delivery. All manner of effort was put into "just get it up there" in the hope that you had struck the right combination to make a fortune.

As we now know... like a powerful car without a steering wheel... effort with no direction is a flawed strategy.

What did we learn from this? Well....

  1. Release cycles were much shorter.
    This was mainly out of fear that if you didn't get something up first, then you had lost the initiative and consequently market share of user eyeballs or registration sign-ups.

    However it taught us that we could get something out of the door quickly when we wanted to (although I'm sure there's a quality / effort / functionality diagram to highlight the inherent problems with this approach)
  2. That in an unknown market, where you can't learn too much from what has gone before (A.K.A. making it up as you went along) just doesn't get you as far along your progression path as all your effort would indicate.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Edelman Trust Barometer 2010

I have realised that I've had this video introduction to the 2010 Edelman Trust Barometer unpublished for a while and hadn't put it live:

The following have all dropped in their trust ratings as sources of credible information: radio, TV and newspapers (probably because of reduced staffing & quality, but also an increase in social media and other digital sources). However, surprisingly to me, is that trust in ‘friends like myself’ has dropped substantially as a credible source of information.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Agile Digital Strategy - part 2

This is the second part of a series of postings about Agile Digital Strategy. Part 1 can be read here.

Before the Internet revolution gave us 'always on' connectivity and 24/7 functionality that could be accessed from anywhere in the world, we still had great applications....

... they just usually took longer to build.

This 'Industrial Age' of software development was quite straight-forward. Each project was planned out in a 'waterfall' process, where task followed task. Scoping led to requirements and specifications, eventual development was lengthy and all dependencies were mapped out and followed.

IT strategy followed the same process (unsurprisingly really, given that the people overseeing the projects were most likely the contributors to the strategy). This meant that the overall plan of work was not thought of in terms of weeks or even months, but in years. Any changes to the scope or requirements of a particular project in mid-flow potentially meant a huge impact to the delivery date of that project and many others, therefore were not changed that often - the result was that by the time applications were released they were not actually fit for the business purpose they had originally been proposed for, things had moved by then.

Monday, April 19, 2010

More Foursquare and news tie-ups

A few weeks ago I asked if Foursquare could be the next news application, and now it looks like there is further integration between these two as the Financial Times looks to court young and premium Foursquare users:

Friday, April 16, 2010

Agile Digital Strategy

A couple months back I blogged about how I had a bit of thinking time and was planning on moving the direction of my blog. This was to be away from topics personal to me, towards the more strategic side of digital media.

As part of this work, I've been looking at the ways companies can be more agile in the implementation of their digital strategies. This would allow an organisation to be flexible yet following an agreed plan of online activity.

I've therefore decided to use my blog to develop this idea over a number of days. I'll aim to post a series of slides / diagrams and use the post to provide commentary on this, whilst hopefully utilising any comments to develop my thoughts and add value to this process.

This is a new idea for me, which I'm not sure will work, but in trying new methods of strategy planning I hope to learn by my mistakes and successes as I go. Obviously (as I'm posting all this work online) any feedback or comments would be gratefully received.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The launch of

Mushrif Park in Abu Dhabi is to be redeveloped by Seba Properties and renamed Mushrif Central Park.
The detailed plans are due to be unveiled at the Mushrif Central Park Cityscape in Abu Dhabi from the 18th April 2010.

This multi-lingual microsite in both English and Arabic was launched today at It has been developed by Ideal Interface ( and gives a taste of what is to come for this important venue.

in reference to: Mushrif Central Park (view on Google Sidewiki)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

iPad to kill publishing

First there were those who said that the iPad will save the publishing industry (a false prophesy I believe), then there were people stating the opposite.

How about the theory that nether of the above is the case and that publishing will be fine (albeit with an eroding business model) with or without the iPad?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Page response times affect SEO

Back in December I blogged about how Matt Cutts, principal engineer from Google, mentioned that the search giant had plans to use page response times to affect search engine results... well now its official!

In a post on Google's official webmaster central blog last Friday, Google Fellow Amit Singhal and Matt Cutts announced that:
today we're including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed
So, amongst the other 'signals' (e.g. page 'relevance') that Google uses for its PageRank algorthym, it now takes the speed of the site into consideration. However site speed is a new signal and currently doesn't carry as much weight as others and currently fewer than 1% of search queries are affected by the site speed signal.

The data to produce this signal is collected and aggregated (into a global average) from Google's toolbar, a common plug-in to most popular browsers.

So, where does that leave your site?

Well, as I mentioned in my previous post, this could have a significant impact for slow performing sites, with more effort having to be spent on SEO and other marketing initiatives.

So surely this now ushers in the age of the website performance optimisation specialist?

Nike's Tiger Woods advert... a video clip too far?

Whether your a fan & supporter of Mr Tiger Woods or are still smarting from his infidelity (or just his poor car driving skills), you can't help but have an opinion on the new Nike advert, timed to nicely coincide with the golfer's eagerly-anticipated return to the Master's Tournament.

The advert, featuring Tiger's face, uses the voice-over of his now deceased father (Earl Woods) taken from a 2004 interview for a DVD documentary. The words used, although intended for a different purpose, have a particular relevancy given the media spotlight on his domestic issues and subsequent five-month self-imposed ban from the sport.

So, has Nike gone too far for using Tiger's domestic issues for commercial gain? (and damaging the Nike brand in the process?) Or should it be applauded for addressing the scandal head-on?

Friday, April 9, 2010

The video generation cometh

I've been speaking to a lot of people these days about the continued modern use of multimedia communication. It's a subject I've posted about for years now and one that I firmly believe is increasingly relevant for all companies regardless of size or market sector.
(Just take a look at my post This time the revolution WILL be televised from 2 years ago)

But one media still continues to captivate more than any other, video (and with this I include television, on demand stuff and any audio/visual streaming combo).

But why use it for online corporate communication? Why not leave it to the swanky marketing types with their dedicated agencies, post production effects and obvious big budgets?

'cos your audience and customers are coming to expect it, that's why!

With every mobile phone now a video recorder, with nearly everyone under the age of 25 having their own YouTube channel (or at least an account) and with Windows PC's & Macs having free video editing software included... there's a new generation of online video producers, and therefore consumers, out there.

Sure, they may not be your current target audience right now.... But for how long can you keep saying that?

It's also not enough to claim you need a huge (but non-existent) video fund to produce top quality stuff. Some of the most popular, genuine and relevant video content has been created on a shoestring.

And don't forget that those teen and 20-something millenials may be consumers now, but they are the next workers and managers in our economy. They will have grown up using cost-effective online video and will consider it just another communication tool to use.

So isn't it therefore time your organisation started using it or at least asking your PR & Marcomms company to use video?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Problems with iPad Wi-Fi?

Well, it seems that Apple has admitted it has iPad connectivity issues with Wi-Fi.

According to PC Pro magazine, the fix is apparently to "Move closer to the router"

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Why it is still a social media UK election

The last American Presidential election was really the first recognised social media election, with Barack Obama gaining a groundswell of support via his Facebook following and a legion of tiny donations via his website. And the 2010 UK election to be held on May 5th is now shaping up to be one too.

Sure, mainstream media and in particular television will still have the main influence over the populace, but social media will provide a far more significant input in the lead up to the election than ever before. In fact, 5 years ago at the last election the term social media didn't really exist as we know it today and the ground rules have all changed.

Research from Ovum last month stated that all the main political parties have started to but haven't yet fully exploited the possibilities of social media.
"The parties acknowledge that social media can be used to mobilise activists, engage new audiences, or harvest a long tail of donors aimed primarily at communication and collaboration within the established caste of politicians, journalists, and interest groups”.
But could 2010 be remembered as the last time TV had the major share of election media influence?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Apple iPad review

Its here..... well, almost in the USA anyway (the rest of us will have to wait until the end of the month apparently).

Here's one of the first decent reviews of Apple's iPad tablet:

PCMag: Apple iPad video review from Reviews on Vimeo.