Heading off to Scotland tomorrow - Fife via St Andrews.
Very excited. Watch this space. Because the client I am meeting has created a business model based on what we are all doing now, ie. being open and exchanging ideas and having a coversation. Fantastic! Moreover, creating a community of good and like-minded people.
More to follow... I think you will like it.
Posted by News Update at 10:46 PM
Have been invited up to Scotland for a new client meet on Sunday! More details to follow on this, as it captures everything to do with social media, social marketing and... social business. My lips are sealed for now.
The nature of the company means that we can only convene the requisite members of the "board" in Fife on Sunday afternoon.
Fine book a train from York. Erm. No. Unless, I leave at 6.30 in the morning (on a Sunday!) it will take GNER more than five and half hours to get me to Waverely and then I've got to get to Fife. Impossible.
Okay let's fly. From Leeds-Bradford I can get a flight. Great. How much? £300. I took the whole family to Prague a couple of weeks ago for just £60 each. It's not the cost to the business that annoys me - it's just the ridiculous price. Sunday can't be their busiest day surely.
Try Manchester Airport. It's a bit cheaper but I still have to drive to Manchester!
Solution: Make a weekend of it and drive up to St Andrews and stay with friends. Attend meeting in Fife and drive home.
I don't resent it because, although I haven't met the client yet, I like him as he sounds really passionate about what he is doing.
My main question is: British transport - bad for business?
Posted by News Update at 4:18 PM
Posted by News Update at 5:11 PM
Congratulations to my business partner at GREEN Communications - Andy Green - who has just been awarded a medal. Stranger still he's never been in the armed forces and if had been he would probably have been in the ranks RASC or, Run Away Someone's Coming.
Andy has been awarded the 2006 Stephen Tallents Medal by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. The Medal is awarded at the discretion of the CIPR President and recognises outstanding achievements in, and contributions to, the development of public relations.
With more than 20 years' experience in public relations, Andy began his career as a Public Relations Officer for South Yorkshire County Council. Since then he has worked in-house and in consultancies, for both public and private sector organisations. In 1993, he set up GREEN.
Andy is author of two CIPR 'PR in Practice' titles: Creativity in Public Relations, the worldÂ’s first book on the subject; and the recently published Effective Personal Communication Skills for Public Relations. Amongst his many achievements, Andy is the driving force behind the Wakefield Media and Creativity Centre, which houses the Art of Propaganda Gallery - an exhibition space on how perceptions are shaped and moulded.
Posted by News Update at 5:04 PM
Here's an interesting take on social media. We received this today from a freelance journalist via Response Source. We've had many weird requests in the past but this one is actually quite interesting. It throws up a few intriguing scenarios about how journalists now use the internet and bloggers, in particular, as a source for new stories.
Anyway, this is what we received -
Am working on a great commission - but do need your help a tiny bit too!
I am following four couples who already have web logs (blogs) set up about their relationships and sex lives. Each couple has written about the dilemmas and everyday goings on in their sexual relationships but want feedback and postings from people going online, sharing their stories (anonymously too if you want!) and giving the couples advice.
So all I'm looking for is for people to go online, check out the sites and get posting!
The Agony and The Sextasy
Our Sex Secrets
Martin & Louise's Sex Diaries
Lauranben: Our Sex Life
All the (sic) need is your advice on how to improve thier (sic) sex lives as that's what they are looking for. Any questions please don't hesitate to give me a call or drop me an email!
I make no comment, other than to observe that it is curious how bloggers are become news events in their our right. It also begs the question whether these are genuine bloggers.
Posted by News Update at 11:05 AM
Posted by News Update at 9:47 PM
We have been planning this for some time using our own software – named Juice - from sister company Lime Brand Design. It's early days and we believe our blog will evolve over time and will be a very diffent beast from what it is today.
We believe all companies will blog in due course if they are truly committed to an open and honest dialogue with their employees, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders. With that in mind we thought we really should have our own. It’s just taken is more than three months to get the software right.
Everyone at GREEN now have their own blogging account and can post their views to the site as they wish. No pressure guys!I think consumers increasingly turn to the internet when discussing companies and products and companies cannot afford to ignore the online conversations that are taking place on message boards, web sites and blogs .
The point is the media of the internet means that it's not good enough to use the web to simply push out your message and hope that people get it. The web means entering into a conversation you're your customers. Greenblog.co.uk will provide a comprehensive range of services including corporate blog strategy, hosting and implementation, blog monitoring, blogger media relations and a complete editorial service.
Watch out for comments from the rest of the team. From managing director Andy Green and account managers Lindsey, Liz, Abi, Kerry, Lisa, Alessandro, Dan and Simon. Simon our latest recruit is the most experienced in the field of social media and marketing and you can check out his thoughts at his own blog at Simon Says.
As always we welcome your comments - what do you like or dislike about the site? What to you think about our comments? My view is that blogging is all about having a conversation. As Hugh MacLeod likes to point out, the best way to manage a conversation is by improving the conversation and making it more interesting.As communications moves from traditional one-to-many channels to a one-to-one conversation, it's important that companies are informed and involved in the discussion. Our blog services are designed to help our clients ease into this critical new area of communications.
We’re more than happy to invite any one to join in our conversation at Greenblog.
Posted by News Update at 2:28 PM
This comes via Simon’s blog and a debate about the future of YouTube which has been at the forefront of social media – sounds a bit sad (in a geekish way) when you put it like that.
The question being: What are you all time fav five tubes? This is a tag game so pass it on. For the record these are mine:
1. Strictly speaking this is not YouTube - but they have a site there - but I love this so much as it reminds me of my kids and friend’s kids. So joyful. So life afirming. God I wish I was 30 years’ younger. Better than X-factor or Pop Idol any time of the day. You go girls: Pomme & Kelly from Holland
2. If only because I’m an Mohammed Ali fan. The fact that the bear does the Ali Shuffle is woth it. Confused? Check out Salmon Fight.
3. I’m old. What can I say this is what rocked me in my teens. The Clash.
4. I laughed so much when I saw this in the 1990s I dislocated my jaw: Cup Final.
5. Serious for bit now – we locked down the office when this happened and wondered what the hell was going on in the world. 9/11 and 9/11 revisited. I realise I am cheating with two – but heh, it's not an insignificant event.
Finally, and recommended by my son Frank, which I am rather proud of. I’ve done something right in his upbringing for him to bring this to my attention: Monkeys
Tag - you're it - pass it on.
Posted by News Update at 11:02 AM
Another experiment begins today in social marketing.
My good friends Astra and Ian Towning sold up in Leeds about two years ago and bought a large rambling home at the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park with a vision of running a guest house near Bedale, Wensleydale called Emfield House.
At the time it seemed a leap of faith but they are thriving. Acres of land with two horses, a flock of sheep, a clutch of hens - Hetty and the Girls, as they are known - an amiable, if over enthusiastic, German Shepherd called Ozzie and lovely wood with pond and resident kingfishers. We're so pleased for them and visit as often as time permits. The picture shows a Green Gathering get together at New Year 2006 - that's Ozzie hogging the limelight.
Recently Astra asked for my advice (rather foolishly I thought) about her website and I suggested we build one with a journal - not a blog - and an online guestbook where guest's could recount their experiences. It's now gone live and I genuinely believe it will win them more business. This could be a double-edged sword as, with two teenage daughters, they need to balance there life with the business but as I pointed out they can always turn the business away!
Social marketing is all about starting a conversation with your customers. Those wary of the theory always complain that people will say bad things about you but as the wonderful Hugh MacLeod likes to point out, the best way to control the conversation is by improving the conversation.
The site was built with a CMS programme developed by Phil Smith at our sister company Lime Brand Design (shameless plug) - the same that's being used by Wensleydaleblog and, I have to say, I am rather pleased with the results.
Astra is no journalist but she is a very good writer and I suspect over the coming months there will be some real gems in her journal. I would be interested to know if there are any other guest house-cum-B&B-cum-hotel bloggers out there.
And yes, I can recommend Elmfield House and the full English breakfast.
Posted by News Update at 6:31 PM
This, by the wonderful Gaping Void, reminds me of one of my earliest blogs. I’ve said this in the past – I’m no techie. I’m a regular guy who started out on the journey of blogging because I can see the potential in it for me as an individual, as the director of a PR and design company, and as a former journalist, curious about what was changing in communications.
But having looked at a lot of successful blogs – and by successful I mean those with the most links (I have a handful!) - blogging reminds me of the public phone boxes in London. Or for that matter any major city.
For those unfamiliar with the UK capital, in London if you’re looking for some, shall we say some visceral pleasure, the phone box – no, not the internet - is where you will find it. In a good old Post Office phone box on the Tottenham Court Road you can find sexual pleasures for all tastes… Male, Female, Black, White, Chinese, Mongolian, S&M, Anal… the list goes on.
I hasten to add I am not an afeciando in this matter.
No, this is just a torturous metaphor to make a point – on which I would like some guidance – about blogging. As with all websites the point seems to be about getting as high on the Google list as possible, or any blog listing. Now, I recognise my humble rambling doesn’t deserve to be at the top of any list but I do wonder at the mechanism by which the top blogs achieve their status. Is it because of the quality of the content? Or is simply having the chutzpah to request a link?
I look at the bloggers I admire - Gaping Void, Dilbert, That Chap, - and marvel at the number of people linking to their sites. However, I do understand the links are there because of the quality of the content.
BUT – why are so many mundane sites getting such great coverage when their blogs are the equivalent of a teenage onaist?
Which brings me back to the phone box metaphor – am I supposed to prostitute my self and get my card in as may blogs as possible to make my blog a success? I hope not, and to be honest I don’t have that much stamina.
Am I being naïve? Possibly. All views welcome but I would prefer people came to visit me to hear what I had to say rather than how many calling cards I had out on in the blogosphere or in the Tottenham Court Road for that matter. What do you think?
Posted by News Update at 8:27 PM
I'm looking forward to work tomorrow - we have a new client meet and a new recruit.
I'll say nothing of the new potential client other than they have a very exciting proposition and product that can finally address concerns about Bird Flu, MRSA and other air-borne infections.
Our new recruit, however, is Simon Collister (pictured left).
Many of you will know Simon from his blogs Simon Says and E-Democracy Update. Simon joins GREEN Communications at an exciting time for our business and I am sure he will bring a lot of insight to the company in his role as a PR practioner but also as one of the few people I know who has a real passion for social media and Web 2.0 - an area we are seeking to develop further following our experiences with Wensleydale Creamery. We've already been approached by some other forward-looking companies keen to ensure they get the best out of the realm of social media, so Simon and I have our work cut out! Bad luck Simon.
What excites me is that while Andy Green, my business partner, and myself are the grey heads of the agency we are surrounded by a young passionate team of colleagues who are exciting, demanding, challenging and conscientious in delivering compelling, creative PR campaigns on behalf of their clients.
Lindsey Ramsey, Daniel Phillips, Abi White, Liz Hirst and others all have a contribution to make to GREEN and it has been very fulfilling to see them develop within the agency and teaching the Old Dogs a few new tricks. Lindsey has been a real star and Dan has been a real wow with his clients - particulary in the field of brand development and management. Indeed, one of his clients was in the Sunday Times today for business innovation.
Legendary Liverpool Football Club manager Bill Shankly said: "It's the greatest thing in the world, natural enthusiasm. You're nothing without it." I think we have it in spades.
Watch this space for further developments - and Simon, if you get in before me put the coffee on!
Posted by News Update at 4:09 PM
I've posted quite a few blogs today. But the wife's away on a girly weekend and the kids are otherwise engaged - Frank's finally had his hair cut: as he was in danger of looking like Joey Ramone.
I was supposed to be rowing but the race was cancelled because the river's too high (better luck tomorrow when we have our inter-club regatta at BARC) after the recent deluge.
However, I came across this at It's Only A Phase which I think is absolutely delightful. It's Only A Phase is a budding animator and cartoonist and I've indicated that we might have some work for him/her(?) in due course.
Back to the point. Forget X Factor or Pop Idol. This is the sort of thing my children do. My favourite is this rendition of Respect by Aretha Franklin from two dutch teens Pomme & Kelly: as part of Google Idol.
Watch this and tell me it doesn't make you smile. RESPECT.
Wonderful! I particularly like the use of the tea towel.
Posted by News Update at 4:04 PM
How sad. My old friends Nick Jaspan and veteran journalist Bob Waterhouse have announced that the North-West Enquirer has closed. They launched the weekly title just over five months ago at a time when regional journalism seemed to be going down the toilet - with Metro and MEN Lite being given away for free.
When Nick told me about his plans I did wonder if he might be over-reaching himself. He's one of the best publishers I know, with boundless engery and commitment to any project he gets involved in. Of course, once the mainstream Press heard about his and Bob's plans they immediately slagged it off - I know in the Press it's dog eat dog but any journalist who has a belief in what they are doing should have wished it well. But one publication actually squatted on the Enquirer's domain while rivals dropped their advertising rates.
But the Enquirer was offering decent salaries to good journalists and the product was very good indeed offering a genuine regional title alongside the parochialism of the likes of the MEN, Daily Post, Liverpool Echo etc. By the way I am not knocking parochialism - in my view we could do with a lot more of it in the regional press instead of the regurgitation of PA and agency copy.
The Enquirer was a bold move by two very bold news men. I'm sad it's gone and I'm very sorry for both Bob and Nick.
Here's Bob's comments on the website which is still running:
Very sadly, after just 21 issues, we have been forced to suspend publication of The Enquirer because the funding package we were negotiating with regional venture capital funds fell apart at the last moment. The company is now in administration. There may yet be a rescue bid. Let’s just hope something transpires.
As editor, I’d like to thank readers for your very generous response to our website. We know that The Enquirer is well read around the world, and the number of hits was growing fast week by week. Thank you again.
Let's hope they can turn it around. Whatever happens I am sure Nick will bounce back. However, this does pose a question about whether we ever see a new paper newspaper again. I doubt it - Web2.0 changes everything and is changing everything with daily regional newspaper sales dropping week on week.
The ones that are holding out are the weeklies that remain at the heart of the community - in my part of the world the likes of the Barnsley Chronicle, Craven Herald, Darlington & Stockton Times and Harrogate Advertiser are actually seeing some gains in circulation. As someone who grew up in the world of hot metal and stone subs I find this encouraging.
From the perspective of PR, however, it does mean we can no longer survive in the printed world alone. It's time people like Colin Farrington woke up and smelt the coffee - see Simon Says for further elucidation.
Posted by News Update at 3:20 PM
For the past couple of months I’ve been testing Microsoft 2007 Beta. At first it was a bit frustrating but after say half an hour it’s real easy to use.
After the initial shock of the interface I can now say the ribbons concept is fantastic. The problem with the old version is that while it had all the features of the Beta version – you had to dig so deep into the menu to find them that you often forgot how you get there.
I think Microsoft may finally broken the 80-20 syndrome which dictated that most users only used about 20 per cent of the system’s capabilities. With ribbons I think that you can easily access about 90% of what Beta has to offer. For instance, I am now actually quiet adept at using Excel – in the past I had to ask our finance person what to do on all but the most simple tasks.
Conditional Formatting, formulas broken down by category visually, Styles, Mail Merge, merge and center [excel], freezing panes, grouping... and more are just one click away.
The new interface also encourages you to experiment with your documents. Power Point is great too.
Posted by News Update at 10:18 AM
Over at Wensleydaleblog we have just published a poem by Ian McMillan, best known as the Barnsley Poet and a regular broadcaster with the BBC.
The poem is a further piece in the jigsaw that is the campaign for Real Yorkshire Wensleydale Cheese made in Hawes, Wensleydale in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Anyway here is the poem:
TO MAKE WENSLEYDALE CHEESE...
You need Wensleydale weather and Wensleydale air
And Wensleydale skill and Wensleydale care;
You need a slight hint of magic in the Wensleydale breeze
To help make the wonder that's Wensleydale Cheese!
You need Wensleydale cows eating Wensleydale grass
Making Wensleydale milk with Wensleydale class;
You need Wensleydale sun shining down through the trees
To help make the wonder that's Wensleydale Cheese!
There's a Wensleydale crumbliness, Wensleydale taste;
Eat Wensleydale slowly, don't gulp it in haste!
You'll feel the delight from your tongue to your knees:
The wonder, the triumph, that's Wensleydale Cheese!
Now Yorkshire has glories, from Whitby to Tong
And they're all fantastic, so don't get me wrong
When I say the ultimate apex of these
Is the food of the gods they call Wensleydale Cheese!
Indeed, we have launched a competition now encouraging other bloggers to write their own poem in praise of the sacred cheese. Prize is a hamper of cheese and other goodies produced in the North Yorkshire Dales. Have a go!
This whole social marketing gig has been a real eye-opener. Wensleydaleblog has attracted a lot of traffic and the relationship we have with the Yorkshire Post and other media means that we are getting our message through more traditional channels. The trick now is to mash up the two together and that has started to happen.
Is it working? Well since we launched six weeks ago we have now more than 4,000 signed up to the petition in support of Real Yorkshire Wensleydale Cheese.
Posted by News Update at 10:24 AM
The latest on Wensleydaleblog is that we have commissioned the poet Ian McMillan (pictured) to write an ode in praise of the great Yorkshire Cheese - please visit the site and add your comments.
We received it yesterday and it's jolly good. But being a bit of a tease we are not going to release it until we get maximum PR from it. A podcast is to follow shortly.
However, I challenged my infuriatingly talented wife Annie, who is currently writing a series of books on town and country walks in the four Yorkshire Ridings, to pen an ode too. She did too in about two minutes. Here's the result:
Tant pis for the Camembert,
Down with the Brie,
Away with the Gouda -
No Edam for me.
When out come the crackers
Or thick crusty bread,
Images of Wensleydale
Course through my head.
It's British, it's brilliant,
It's what milk is for -
So pass me the Wensleydale
I've room for lots more!
Being something of a minimalist here's my modest haiku offering:
Wenselydale my heart.
Heaven, right here in my mouth.
Please pass the crackers.
Others welcome or visit Wensleydaleblog .
Posted by News Update at 8:39 PM
Given that my son, Frank, has some how managed to monopolise the family PC - mainly for the purposes of gaming and MSN Messenger and filled the damn thing with so many downloads that me and my wife have to wait hours for it to do anything (it works perfectly for him) we've finally conceded defeat.
Yes, we've bought a new PC from Dell. They rock!
We've acquired a Dimension 5150C. Bought it online on Thursday last week - and I'm happily tapping away on it now after it arrived in my offices in Wakefield. It took me half an hour to set up and was online immediatley through our broadband wireless connection. I've commandeered the kitchen table for now until Frank takes the old one to put in his room tomorrow. The kitchen is usually home to the laptop (also a Dell) where I do most of my blogging - much to my wife's chagrin.
The kit is fantastic. But what has impressed me most was Dell's customer service. Tracking of the despatch was great and, from past experience, I expect a call or email to ask if I've been happy with the service.
When the communication comes I will be effusive as ever, of course. My question is: how can the PR industry deliver such levels of service and be recognised as such for doing so?
The interesting thing for us, at GREEN Communications, is that when we ask clients for a testimonial they are more than happy to give one and I do wonder if we ask enough. I suppose the next step is to encourage them to tell others - through their network - what a great job we do. The next step is getting them to do it online.
Posted by News Update at 8:17 PM
Does the Pope need PR? Probably not. The Catholic Church is probably the most PR-savvy organisation in the world – better than Coca-Cola, Microsoft and Richard Branson put together.
They invented the word propaganda for Christ’s sake (can I say that?) – the original propagandists were missionaries sent out to spread the word – for the best description of this see Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
So whoever advised Pope Benedict when in his speech last week must have been on something. He “inadvertently insulted" Islam in the course of his discourse when he quoted a Byzantine emperor who called Islam “evil and inhuman” but made it clear that it wasn’t his own opinion.
In response to being labelled evil and inhuman by a dead Byzantine emperor, a group of Muslims did what anyone would do in that situation: they firebombed two churches in the West Bank and stabbed a nun to death in Somalia.
If we are all about engaging in a global conversation, the Pope’s comments seem plain stupid – like asking the Rabbi whether he prefers lobster or a ham sandwich - but the instant response from you or me might be to say I am offended by that remark. The response from the fanatics is to say: “I am offended so I will kill you!”
I also love the fact that the Vatican’s official position is that Muslims should be treated with “esteem.” According to my dictionary, esteem “high regard,” which is nice! But it can also mean “the regard in which one is held” which is a broad concept encompassing everything from “decent chap” to “towel head.”
The Pontiff is in a tricky situation. He can either say that he believes Muslims picked the wrong religion, thereby triggering massive violence. Or he can be a liar with a funny hat and a Bavarian accent. He, or his advisers, thought he found a clever middle ground that involves attributing any bad thoughts about Islam to a dead guy and employing words that sound like compliments. So far it isn’t working.
The point with PR is to consider the implications of what you say. When you throw a pebble in the pond and you can never control the resulting ripples - or at least I can't.
Interestingly the Guardian described him as “a little man with little sympathy for other faiths”.
For the record my mother is Protestant, my dad is Catholic – I’m a Humanist. No, a humanist nor a humourist.
Posted by News Update at 7:37 PM
Andy, my business partner, brought a book with a range of newspaper fliers from the Evening Standard. You know the sort of thing - badly written bills that the newspapers hand out to newspaper sellers.
I've collected these for years. I always remember the conversations on various newspapers between the news editor and the chief sub-editor on what should be written on these. Most memorable was when the news editor said: "Do we call him 'dead boy' or 'bullet boy'?" To which the chief sub replied: "Well technically he's dead."
"Yes, but we're trying to sell f**king newspapers," replied the news editor.
My favourite is from the New York Post (I think):
Headless Torso Found in Topless Bar
PS: In case you've never worked in the press - sub-editors are professional pedants.
Posted by News Update at 5:18 PM
Excellent post by Simon Says considering whether web teams or comms teams should have responsibility for an organisation's blog.
Interesting this one - a conundrum we are dealing with at my company on behalf of several clients. My view is that blogging is all about having a conversation whether you're a corporate blogger or not. As Hugh McLead likes to point out, the best way to control the conversation is by improving the conversation.
And in that respect I think the communicators are key - the web team build the engine but it is up to the bloggers to feed it and manage the conversation.
Check out the debate at should firms build their own blog?
Posted by News Update at 1:05 PM
Visit Dilbert and make your vote with a UK Bias. Why am I so busy today? Family is away - enough, enough!
It’s time for the 2006 annual Dilbert Weasel Awards! This is your opportunity to publicly embarrass the weasels that desperately deserve it. I’m looking for nominees. In a few days the nominees will be posted on Dilbert.com for the world to vote on. After the voting, United Media and I will issue a press release announcing the winners, ideally on some slow news day, and the entire world will get to enjoy the karmic justice.
By way of definition, a weasel is someone who is trying to get away with something and actually succeeding. We don’t include anyone who is in jail because that person isn’t getting away with it.
We also don’t include anyone who is evil or annoying or incompetent but in an honest way. A weasel is someone who craps on toast and tells you it is caviar. Weasels say things like this:
“I have never taken steroids. I look like the Incredible Hulk because I eat right.”
“I didn’t realize I was stealing a billion dollars from my company. I just signed whatever they put in front of me.”
“I deserve my $100 million salary because without me the company’s stock price would have plunged even further.”
“We have no intention of making nuclear weapons!”
The categories within which we need nominees are:
1. Weaseliest Pundit/Reporter
2. Weaseliest Industry
3. Weaseliest Company
4. Weaseliest Politician
5. Weaseliest Celebrity
6. Weaseliest Sports Person
7. Weaseliest Organization
8. Weaseliest Country
Here's a link to last year's winners
Posted by News Update at 6:07 PM
Sorry to repeat this here. I know it's not the done thing but I think Charlie Booker is a genius, like Nancy Banks-Smith.
My question is could I use the same language and get away with it? I'd like to but am afraid I would affend too many people. Anyway enjoy:
Who the Christing hell does Justin Timberlake think he is?
Who the Christing hell does Justin Timberlake think he is? I've only just heard his recent single (several weeks after every idiot in the world ran out and bought it, it seems), and according to the lyrics, he's bringing sexy back.
That's what he says, bold as brass. "I'm bringing sexy back," he moans, with a meerkat grin on his fizzog, like he's in charge of the world's sexy resources, the cheeky bastard.
Who the Christing hell does Justin Timberlake think he is? I've only just heard his recent single (several weeks after every idiot in the world ran out and bought it, it seems), and according to the lyrics, he's bringing sexy back.
That's what he says, bold as brass. "I'm bringing sexy back," he moans, with a meerkat grin on his fizzog, like he's in charge of the world's sexy resources, the cheeky bastard.
I mean Jesus Christ, Timberlake: sexy isn't something you can withdraw from the market then subsequently revive, like Texan bars or Prime Suspect. No. It's an amorphous concept which means different things to different people. There's no regulatory body monitoring its supply, Opec-style - and even if there was, no one would put you in charge of it anyway, you snide, self-satisfied, stinkarsed, jigging little stoat.
How dare he? Genuinely - HOW DARE HE? How DARE this dot-eyed, crop-haired, fun-sized, guff-tongued, pirouetting waif-boy scamper on to the world's airwaves and loudly proclaim to be the sole global administrator of all things sexy? You'd think it takes massive balls to do something like that, but given the shrill, squeaking vocals cheeping through his ghastly little gobhole, it's safe to assume he's got testes the size of capers. He's practically a human dog whistle, the shrieking, high-pitched, mosquito-lunged ponce.
And wait, it gets worse. Having declared himself the Lord of All Sexy, the lyric goes on to decry the rest of us mere mortals as being somehow not up to scratch. And he calls us bad names while he's doing it!
First he says "them other fuckers don't know how to act" - which translates as "everyone in the world, with the sole exception of myself, is a clueless fornicator". Then he threatens us, using language so offensive it pains me to reproduce it here (and while I apologise for any offence it may cause, I think it's important to quote him in full, if only to bring home the full import of his disgusting slurs). "You motherfuckers, watch how I attack," he says. Out loud, right there, on the record.
Yeah, that's right: Justin Timberlake just called EVERYONE LISTENING TO HIS SONG a motherfucker! It could be you, it could be me, it could be your four-year-old nephew - he treats us all with the same high-handed revulsion. Can you believe the nerve of this jumped-up bitch?
Incredibly, he's not through with us yet. In the very next line, he clearly states his intention to meddle in the private affairs of others. "If that's your girl you'd better watch your back," he tweets. Why, Justin? What are you going to do? Knife me in the spine and rip her dress off in front of me? I wouldn't put anything past you by now, you hateful, preeping maniac. Sod putting out a single - our mere existence evidently sickens you to the bone, so why not just kick our doors in, burn down our homes, blast us with a shotgun as we crawl pathetically from the flames, and have done with it?
He should be jailed for saying stuff like this. Gagged and manacled and hurled in the deepest, dankest dungeon imaginable. A cell so small they have to snap his skeleton in half to fit him in. And the moment the door slams shut, the whole thing should be soundproofed, sealed and bombed into a million bits.
Justin Timberlake? Justin Piss, more like.
Posted by News Update at 5:08 PM
To the person who sent the comment calling me an ugly f**cker. What can I say - I think I'm an ugly, good-looking man in the manner of Humphrey Bogart or possibly, at a pinch, Humphrey Littleton. Manly but asymmetrical. Please don't come back.
However, my wife did say: "You look old in that picture"
Sigh! I'm 42.
Posted by News Update at 4:55 PM
Excellent day on the river today at Bradford Amateur Rowing Club where we held our Autumn Primary Regatta.
As a primary event this was aimed mainly at beginners and those new to the sport - so, as a veteran, I didn't actually get into a boat but helped out, getting the boats out and back in again at the landing stages. We had three capsizes, by the way, but no-one was hurt.
What was great was seeing the youngsters and novices doing so well - even those who lost - appeared to come on leaps and bounds and will have learned a lot. This is a great sport and, if any Yorkshire bloggers, fancy having a go let me know and I can arrange to show you around.
I'm now set for the Head Season with competitive racing over five to six miles in a VIII and IV and all the bastard training that goes with it. And the snow and the hail and the rain!
But I love the team effort - eight grumpy old men arguing as they row down the Thames, Tyne and Tees. Interestingly, I can't find that many blogs on rowing.
Another thing is I am testing out Blogger Beta - you might have noticed the site has changed. I like it but would prefer a further column down the left-hand side too. I've also started another site at Green's Media Blog for style. What do you think?
By the way check out Simon Says and Should firms build their own blogs or look elsewhere?
By the way the picture shows me at the back as part of scratch crew at the Bradford Spring Regatta - we won. The youngest in the boat was 13, modesty prevents me saying who was the oldest but it wasn't me. And, yes, as a veteran crew you can include women in the boat.
Posted by News Update at 4:38 PM
Don Foster, the Liberal Democrat culture and media spokesman commenting in the debate on BBC fee increases: “There’s no doubt the bid throws in not just the kitchen sink but the washing up liquid as well: it’s clearly over the top. The BBC has gone too far and needs to be rowed back in.”
(Source FT, 5.09.06)
Posted by News Update at 4:06 PM
Excellent piece in the Guardian today by Ed Pilkington on how influential US lef-wing bloggers are gaining more political and media clout.
Pilkington notes that: “When historians come to write the definitive account of the rise of the liberal blog in the US, it is quite possible they will identify a small meeting in Harlem this week as a tipping point. The gathering looked unremarkable enough, a group of about 20 men and women sitting round a boardroom table, but it represented something highly significant.
“The people assembled were the elite, if that's not a contradiction in terms, of the Democrat-leaning blogosphere. And the man at the centre was Bill Clinton.”.
Clinton told the group that over the past two years he had become an avid reader, and that he now included blog posts in his daily news cuttings service.
Bill Scher, who edits the Liberal Oasis blog, thinks blogs are now emerging as real forces. His "Right-wing blogs have been very good and very fast at putting out book, Wait! Don't move to Canada, is published next week and records how liberal blogs first came to public attention when they raised substantial amounts of money for the 2004 primary campaign of the anti-Iraq war Democrat, Howard Dean.
These blogs recently forced ABC re-assess a docu-drama about the lead-up to September 11, The Path to 9/11, which portrayed the counter-terrorism efforts of the Clinton administration in a poor light. The exposed inaccuracies, mistakes and a certain right wing agenda.
According to the Guardian an “army of bloggers… ignited a firestorm that enveloped ABC and brought Clinton and several of his former aides into the furore”. ABC was forced to re-edit several of the disputed scenes.
They just need to get rid of Bush now.
Liberal blogs to check out include:
With a staff of just five, Think Progress punches well above its weight, as was seen by the impact it had on the ABC docudrama, The Path to 9/11. It is connected to the Washington- based liberal thinktank, the Centre of American Progress, whose director is the former chief of staff under Bill Clinton. It has about 100,000 visitors a day, and its focus is on monitoring rightwing blogs and the mainstream media. It calls itself a movement of "guerrilla fact checkers".
Founded in 2002 by Markos Moulitsas Zúniga and run by him from Berkeley, California. The site now attracts 20 million unique visits a month. The blog is named after the nickname Moulitsas acquired when he was in the army (it rhymes with "dose").
The site by and for young feminists. The executive editor is Jessica Valenti, a 27-year-old feminist writer from New York. Its mission statement says that: "Young women are rarely given the opportunity to speak on their own behalf on issues that affect their lives and futures. Feministing provides a platform for us to comment, analyse and influence."
The blog, edited by Bill Scher, publishes original commentary every morning from Monday to Friday. It carries the motto: "Where the Left is right and the Right is wrong."
Founded by Jane Hamsher, who produced the Oliver Stone film, Natural Born Killers. Its blogger, Christy Hardin Smith, who was present at the Clinton lunch, writes on the site that there is a need for "better messaging and coordination/ cooperation with blogs and the Democratic leadership, who seem to constantly be trying to work at cross-purposes with all of us."
Focuses on US politics, particularly the Bush Administration, the radical right, and gay civil rights. Why turn to it? Because, it says, "at some point you tire of the lies". It is run by John Aravosis, a Washington-based writer and political consultant.
Posted by News Update at 10:44 AM
Have been musing on the nature of press releases following some recent blogs on some sites dedicated to journalism and the media.
The ever-to-be lamented death of Vice-Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson, who, in the late conflict with the enemy, fell in the hour of victory, leaves to me the duty of informing my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, that on the 19th instant, it was communicated to the Commander in Chief, from the ships watching the motions of the enemy in Cadiz, that the Combined Fleet had put to sea; as they sailed with light winds westerly, his Lordship concluded their destination was the Mediterranean, and immediately made all sail for the Streights' entrance, with the British Squadron, consisting of twenty-seven ships, three of them sixtyfours, where his Lordship was informed, by Captain Blackwood (whose vigilance in watching, and giving notice of the enemy's movements, has been highly meritorious), that they had not yet passed the Streights...
The Commander in Chief, in the Victory, led the weather column, and the Royal Sovereign, which bore my flag, the lee. The action began at twelve o'clock, by the leading ships breaking through the enemy's line, the Commander in Chief about the tenth ship from the van, the Second in Command about the twelfth from the rear, leaving the van of the enemy unoccupied; the succeeding ships breaking through in all parts, astern of the leaders, and engaging the enemy at the muzzles of their guns; the conflict was severe; the enemy's ships were fought with a gallantry highly honourable to their Officers; but the attack on them was irresistible, and it pleased the Almighty Disposer of all events to grant his Majesty's arms a complete and glorious victory...
I have also to lament the loss of those excellent Officers, Captains Duff, of the Mars, and Cooke, of the Bellerophon; I have yet heard of none others.
I fear the numbers that have fallen will be found very great, when the returns come to me; but it having blown a gale of wind ever since the action, I have not yet had it in my powers to collect any reports from the ships.
Having thus detailed the proceeding of the fleet on this occasion, I beg to congratulate their Lordships on a victory which, I hope, will add a ray to the glory of his Majesty's crown, and be attended with public benefit to our country, I am, &c.
(Signed) C. COLLINGWOOD.
Posted by News Update at 4:23 PM
Yes that old Chestnut. I've just been directed to a Scottish journalist's blog by the wonderful Passionate Blog which proceeds to diss the public relations profession with Why Journalists Hate PRs - and Why PRs Hate Journalists.
Amber has some interesting points and some real stinkers from PRs who, in their enthusiastic response to her request for information on house builders across Scotland, sent her... well, a load of shite!
But I suspect she doth protest too much and that there may have been a few nuggets of genuine interest in her inbox that she found quite useful.
Maybe standards have slipped. When I was in full-time journalism I have to say the standards of press materials was very good. Usually written by an ex-hack and answering all the who, what, when, where, how questions. Generally it was ready for print.
But journalistic pride (not professional - journalism is a trade not a profession) forebade us from cutting and pasting it into the paper. At the very least we'd want an interview with the chief executive, a decent picture or another angle if it had gone out to rivals.
And if it was a bad press release - usually from a London agency by someone called Jacaranda or Arrowminta - we would politely tell them and explain that we were usually looking for a story.
The curiously thing is that now, on this side of the fence - where my company adopts the same rigorous standards as when I was running the business desk - many journalists use the press release verbatim with their byline, do not challenge any of the content and do not request any interviews.
I'm exaggerating of course - as I suspect Amber is - and this doesn't happen all the time but regularly enough to prompt concerns.
Back to the orginal headline - the real question is why do journalists need PRs - and why do PRs needs journalists?
Posted by News Update at 4:20 PM
Stephen Tual CEO at Terapad has sent a comment to say the new blogging-cum-website platform has now integrated Feedburner into the system. This is what mine looks like:
I have to say - once you get to used to it - Terapad is very easy to use and I do like the assets section where you can upload pictures, pdfs, word documents and other useful stuff on to you own files on their server.
It's good to see a British company doing this although I suspect as it evolves Terapad will be adopted more by SMEs than down-at-heel bloggers. For one it has an e-commerce offering and does not require much technical knowledge I wish them well.
Posted by News Update at 3:09 PM
My grandmother used to drink Camp Coffee when I was growing up in Liverpool – usually with sterilized milk (who remembers that?) – horrible stuff! So I was intrigued to see the recent brouhaha following the manufacturer’s decision to change the label – as it was deemed to be politically incorrect.
When the inventors of Camp Coffee needed an image to market their new product 121 years ago, it seemed little could do the job better than a doughty Scottish warrior sitting down for a brew in a far-flung corner of empire.
To ensure Victorian consumers got the message that they were drinking the same caffeine concentrate designed to fortify soldiers subduing the colonies while campaigning (hence Camp), a kilted Gordon Highlander was shown being brought his drink by a Sikh manservant. Obviously, the relationship between the turbaned domestic and his moustachioed master - armed with a white porcelain cup and saucer - has changed to reflect attitudes towards the colonial era.
The new label now shows the Sikh soldier sitting beside his former boss - and with a cup and saucer of his own.
The story behind the label is intriguing as the Scot is supposed to be Major General Sir Hector Macdonald, scourge of Afghans, Boers and the Dervishes of Sudan.
He was the low-born soldier – son of a Scottish crofter - who turned down a Victoria Cross in favour of a commission, telling his superiors he would earn his medal later.
Known to millions as "Fighting Mac” he shot himself in the head in his bedroom in the Hotel Regina in Paris on 25 March 1903, minutes after reading a front-page story in the New York Herald suggesting he faced a "grave charge" – a Victorian euphemism for homosexuality..
It was he claimed he had gay affairs with a Boer prisoner of war and another while stationed in Belgium. He was also accused of a "habitual crime of misbehaviour with several schoolboys" in a railway carriage.
Macdonald was born in 1853 in Inverness, to a crofter and a dressmaker. He was an apprentice draper when he persuaded a recruiting sergeant from the Gordon Highlanders to accept him for training at the age of 17.
He became known as "Fighting Mac" for his exploits at the Battle of Omdurman, was wounded in the second Boer war. While serving in Afghanistan in 1879 as a regimental sergeant, he distinguished himself in battle to the extent that he was given the choice of a Victoria Cross, the ultimate military accolade, or a rare commission as an officer.
After fighting with such ferocity in the Boer War that an opposing general gave him back his sword when he was taken prisoner, Macdonald was credited with saving Lord Kitchener's imperial army at Omdurman - the Dervish stronghold where General Gordon of Khartoum was killed.
At the head of his brigade, Macdonald repelled a counter-offensive by 20,000 Dervishes with the loss of only 48 men and 382 wounded. A young Winston Churchill, reporting on the battle, wrote how, at one point in the battle, Macdonald called his officers around him and rebuked them for "having wheeled into line in anticipation of his order and requested them to drill more steadily".
McCormick Foods, which now owns the Camp Coffee brand and still manufactures it in Paisley, insisted yesterday that the decision to redesign its label was not a response to criticism from campaigners that it perpetuated racial stereotypes. A spokeswoman said: "All these evolutions have been purely driven by marketing considerations in order to make the logo and label designs more modern and attractive."
Whatever, the nature of his sexuality it should be noted that he did marry and two children.
Back to branding – the original label showed the Sikh hold a bottle of Camp Coffee on a tray. Actually, they got rid of the tray decades ago and the Sikh guy was left standing there as if he didn't know what to do with his free hand, which was clenched into an anxious little fist – frustrated sexual longing perhaps?
Now they are sitting in a companiable way enjoying a mutual cup of Camp Coffee – what we are to draw from this I am not sure. But that’s what I call a brand history!
Posted by News Update at 10:03 AM
Ah - Just finished the ironing! Took me two hours. How many PR executives and commentators can say that? When I first moved in with Annie, my present wife, or did she move in with me(?), she ironed a shirt and I criticised the result - always start with the collar I advised.
Now 20-odd years later I still do my own ironing. In fact, the kids (adults in fact now - they're 15 and 13 years old and nick all my Bob Dylan, Ramones and The Clash albums and any money that might have fallen out of my pocket)- Frank and Mercedes - do their own ironing too. Fair enough - we all work, as my wife says.
How strange after the domestic chores - listening to Jake Thackray (a true poet - Go Little Swale is my favouirte) - that I still click in with the social media stuff. The Wensleydaleblog we launched has gone very well and through the Yorkshire Post we now have more than 2,000 supporters - check out Uniquely Yorkshire. See earlier posts for more information.
But like the information about the ironing - very boring I know - the point with social marketing is to be as honest as possible - like the ironing which I find strangely therapeutic - and that's what the people at Wensleydale Creamery have said. As we say up t'North: "We call a spade a f**king shovel!"
Any problems - just email us.
Posted by News Update at 9:39 PM
Stuart Bruce has made a comment on Terapad - a new blogging platform which offer teh facility to hang web pages off your blog.
Stuart says: "I've only just signed up for the 30 day free trial, but first impressions are favourable (or should I say favorable as I think it's a UK company angling its pitch for the US market)."
What I like:
Easy to sign up and doesn't require a credit card for the free trial (I hate those as I always forget to cancel)
Initial templates are actually attractive, although obviously will look like templates as everyone uses them
Appears to be very feature rich, although I haven't had time to study them all yet
What I don't like:
Terrible launch press release, these guys apparently don't have a budget for professional public relations support
"Once your free trial runs out, your site will be deleted." Unless you get a massive time window to 'reclaim/pay' then this is terrible - far better to lock it for 90 days so you can't edit it or add posts.
Pitching just to the USA - it's right for UK tech companies to look to the US first (much bigger market), but I feel Terapad needs to give a bit more of a nod to the UK.
No integration with FeedBurner (particularly bad as they make it so easy to use Google Analytics for visits its a shame you can't do the same for your feed).
I've struggled with Typepad in the past and quickly abandoned it for Blogger. I understand that feedburner is on the way and RSS is already fully integrated. I set this up this morning will see (Ian Green's Media Blog) how it goes. There is another blogger platform called Joomla which looks interesting too.
One thing I did struggle with was that RSS Reader didn't like some of the code.
Posted by News Update at 11:55 AM
I spotted this on the excellent Morgan McLintock on PR. All sounds faintly familiar even if it does come from the US. Plus c'est la meme chose, plus ça change.
1. Never praise the agency – even if the team does a good job, don’t give any positive feedback – they’ll only go soft. Far better to maintain a dissatisfied scowl so the agency redoubles its efforts to please you. Even if they’re exceeding expectations, don’t let on that you’re pleased. In fact, give them a kick occasionally to keep them honest.
2. Don’t set targets – no doubt you’ll have your own KPIs but don’t let the agency know them since they’ll just stop as soon as they’ve been reached. Better to keep them guessing and on their toes.
3. Demand constant attention - the squeakiest hinge gets the most oil, so demand time beyond your budget. What’s the agency going to do? Say no and risk losing your account?
4. Never make up your mind – ask for options, ask for ideas, ask for timelines and plans, but never feedback on any of them or set a clear course of action. What if you’re wrong? You might get blamed – no, far better to spend time considering your options. Remember a campaign's a journey not a destination.
5. Brief light, brief late – the agency prides itself of being proactive and moving quickly, so you can afford to go to the wire before bringing them into the loop.
6. Delegate the bottom of your to do list – yup, good to find a home for all those stinkers which have been hanging around for so long.
7. Maintain radio silence – they’ll find you if it’s urgent.
8. Pass the blame – the agency is there to make you look good. As long as they do that, fine, but if things go badly, don’t forget they’re there to take the fall too.
9. Make sure you are the single point of contact – then you can control exactly what they do and what they know. They’ll just get confused otherwise.
10. Pay late – best to hold back in case something goes wrong, then you’ve got plenty of leverage. Better that the money’s in your account than the agency’s – their fees are too high anyway. As for that renewal contract - now there's something we can drag out since they'll probably ask for a bigger budget, and meanwhile they're busting a gut to please. Perfect.
If you follow these simple rules, you'll be the terror of your agency - and get the most bangs per buck, no doubt.
UPDATE - Chris Lewis has kindly posted a reverse guide - How to be a great client.
Posted by News Update at 12:31 PM
My business partner Andy Green (no relation!) also runs Creativity@Work – a creative consultancy - and often drives me nuts coming up new methods of delivering creative PR campaigns.
Just when I think I’ve settled on a plan, in barges Andy and up-ends it – usually with excellent results. Bless him.
Andy argues that the best creative minds need structure in order to focus their ideas on something truly worthwhile. Andy always asks: "What's the big question?"
He believes successful people are successful because they understand how to use every aspect of the brain and have a range of tools and techniques for creating ideas that other overlook.
With this in mind we have been visiting TEDBlog, a great blog about TED, the annual event that brings together US thinkers in Technology, Entertainment and Design.
Andy would approve.
Posted by News Update at 12:01 PM
Bloody hell! Talk about crisis mis-management - politics so badly needs it and virtually always gets it wrong.
I have spent the better half of today witnessing the Government's and the Labour Party's total meltdown on the pages of the BBC webiste.
First rule of crisis management is accept that you've got one. Well Labour certainly seems to have agreed on that one. Second rule - apologise... erm nothing happening there then.
Third rule - signal that you're going to make amends and do something about it... erm, erm.
So that's David Cameron assured a place in Number 10 then. Should Blair step down sooner rather than later? I really don't know.
Posted by News Update at 5:14 PM
I am indebted to Nedra Kline Weinreich for her take on "Social Marketing" - see previous posts about what I thought it meant. Nedra has come up with a neat definition - two in fact.
One on Social Marketing - which actually aims to make a difference to society and Social Media Marketing - I suppose the stuff that I do. Check out Nedra at Spare Change.
Any way look at the table below:
Social Marketing vs “Social Marketing”
Social Marketing AKA Social Marketing
Definition: The use of marketing techniques to promote the adoption of healthy or pro-social behaviors
Purpose: Changing individual behaviors to improve their own health or well-being, or to help society for the greater good
Who Uses It: Nonprofit organizations, government agencies, other organizations working toward health or social change
Who "Profits": Individuals at risk for a particular health or social problem, those who are likely to adopt positive behaviors to help society
Target Audiences: Individuals or society
Related Fields/Terms: Nonprofit marketing, cause marketing, health marketing
Examples: Verb Campaign, truth Campaign
For More Info: Wikipedia, Squidoo, Social Marketing Wiki
Social Marketing AKA Social Media Marketing
Definition: Marketing via online tools and platforms that people use to share information with each other, such as blogs, social networking sites, wikis, podcasts and shared media sites
Purpose: Involving consumers in marketing efforts designed to generate positive word of mouth or personal investment in the brand
Who Uses It: Companies or other organizations that want to add an online peer-to-peer or participative component to their marketing
Who "Profits": The organization doing the marketing
Target Audiences: Tech-savvy consumers who are already using social media tools, whether as a creator or consumer of content
Related Fields/Terms: Social media optimization, social network marketing, word of mouth marketing, viral or buzz marketing, citizen marketing
Examples: Snakes on a Plane, Chevy Tahoe (add to that the Artic Monkeys, Lilly Allen etc)
For More Info: Wikipedia, SEOMoz blog, Marketing with Social Media
Posted by News Update at 3:49 PM
Passionate’s blog which raised the question are journalists jealous of PR people? has raised the hackles of Getting Ink who came back with the following witty response:
Here's ten reasons why we're glad we don't work in PR.
1. Staff at one London PR agency start work at 8am and take turns manning reception. Builds team spirit or somesuch, apparently.
2. One PR agency we visited has painted its walls a particularly vivid shade of orange because a management consultant told them it promoted creativity. Imagine looking at that with a hangover.
3. You have to wear black. Is it, like, some kind of uniform?
4. You have to wear suits. We wear jeans and scruffy shirts and pretend it's a ploy to put your clients off balance. Really, it's because we didn't do our laundry last night and this was the only thing that was clean.
5. We get to leave PR parties when the free beer runs out. You have to stay and talk to your clients all night.
6. If you work on the Casio account, you can't wear your lovely Tag watch.
7. You have to do things like go to 'brainstorm' meetings or 'imagineering' sessions. We go to the pub.
8. On press trips, we get to sneak out of the press conference and go shopping while you have to sit at the front and look keen.
9. One PR agency we know of has a formal policy forbidding staff from 'socialising' with rival agencies. On most newspapers, illicit screwing (of one sort of another) of the competition is virtually staff policy.
10. Finally, as a journalist when all else fails, you can still tell someone to f*ck off. As a PR, we don't think this is encouraged.
Ah, the joys of list journalism.
I don’t think Linda said journalists are jealous of PRs did she? Anyway here's ten reasons why I’m glad I don’t work in newspapers anymore.
1. Thank God, no more ‘death knocks’ – “I know you’re son’s barely cold in the mortuary but can we have a picture please?
2. No more court reporting
3. No more city council meetings to attend
4. No more corduroy.
5. No more tedious press conferences where cheap wine is served up. Can anyone remember back to the days when they used to hand our cigarettes as well?
6. No more worrying about deadlines – I don’t need a watch.
7. No more editorial conferences listening to the woman’s editor talking about top ten tips to lose weight.
8. No more being sent on press trips by my editor to Norway – most expensive booze in the world.
9. No more having to talk to people you don’t want. Incidentally we run an annual quiz with rival agencies.
10. And I really don’t like telling people to f*ck off anyway whatever the circumstances.
Posted by News Update at 2:41 PM
To be honest I am not sure what we mean when we talk about social marketing except in the sense that it's more marketing jargon and can impress the clients.
However, subsequent to launching the Wensleydale Blog (see more below) we've had quite a few posts in support of Wensleydale Creamery's submission for EU protected status. One was from a very nice chap called Tim Chapman (he likes his Wensleydale on granary with a pint of Black Sheep Bitter).
And this is where the social bit comes in. I haven't spoken for Tim for about two years - sorry Tim! Tim used to work with me when I was running Insider magazine and later joined me on the rollercoaster ride that was Venturedome.com during the dotcom boom and bust. Again, sorry Tim!
But how strange that our paths should cross now through the medium of the internet - then again maybe not - the great thing about coincidence is that it happens all the time.
Any way check out Tim's blog at An Elegant Escape From Reality
Posted by News Update at 9:11 AM
A thought provoking piece by Rachel Cooke in The Observer today berating the critical abilities of bloggers when it comes to film reviews. Check it out at Who's to judge? Better an eminent critic than a daft blogger.
But I'm not sure that you can say that journalists - and certainly not critics, who I don't deem to be journalists (how many words a minute shorthand can they do?) - can be said to belong to some holy order of good taste and informed views. For instance, I love everything Bob Dylan has ever recorded but accept he has done some stinkers. I feel I am relatively well informed about the man. Indeed, I have just finished reading a gushing interview in today's same Observer.
However, I feel I know enough about the subject of His Bobness to talk intelligently about the subject - being a lowly blogger - for instance comparing "Sally Girl" with "Subterranean Homesick Blues". But I digress.
Ms Cooke's suggestion is that bloggers - not being real critics - carry no real weight - they are the hoi pollo, The Mob, the un-educated, the un-washed.
However, I do agree on one point - a good critic is one to cherish and that is why I think Nancy Banks-Smith should be a Dame immediatetly and that Charlie Brooker should be give a Knighthood. Meanwhile, Ms Cooke might spare a little thought for her readers (there must be thousands) who regularly commit their thoughts to a blog.
By the by - I normally like Ms Cooke's whimsy - which is what she does best, and should stick to.
As a footnote I notice that The Guardian and The Observer - BOTH HAVE BLOGS! I make no comment.
Posted by News Update at 8:37 PM
Freeserve founder Ajaz Ahmed – we know him well at GREENs - has launched an internet browser that protects against leaving details of sites surfers visit on the computers they use to access the net.
Browzar is a new privacy-minded web browser for Windows users. It doesn't cache anything, keep a history, employ auto-complete or keep cookies. The application is free to download, and the beta version is now available.
Browzar, which can be either downloaded or run directly from the web, doesn't save information on visited websites or searches made when surfing the web. Cache, history, and cookies are all automatically deleted when you close the software, which doesn't feature auto-complete forms.
The software, available without charge or registration, only works on Windows (for now). Mac OS X and Linux flavours of Browzar are promised in future releases.
Suggested uses for Browzar include protecting privacy on a shared family computer, checking email in a cyber-cafe and checking online bank accounts from workplace PCs.
Ahmed said: "We divulge masses of information about our habits, hobbies and financial dealings while online, often unknowingly, and there are times when all of us would rather this was kept private. Using Browzar, anyone worldwide can surf the web privately in the knowledge that no one will stumble across the sites they have visited when using the same computer."
Posted by News Update at 10:58 AM