From the ever informative, insightful and entertaining Gaping Void. With Hugh's blessing I will re-publish his entire thesis in due course. But the above is something to think on over the next couple of days. Where are you in this? ;-)

I don't need a Second Life

I’ve had an account with Second Life for about five months – and I’ve just closed it down.
At first I thought it was the way we had to go commercially as it, supposedly, gave you access to a range of interesting, intellectual thinkers who you could do business with and were willing to engage in the conversation.
It was also a platform to promote yourself or business – see Nissan, GM, Crayon etc.
I have visited it occasionally since I set up the account and each time I always felt like the only teetotaller at a party full of drunken teenagers. I’ve been invited to online orgies, air f**king parties (for God’s sake!), a Goth Vampire Happening, Heavy Metal Concert and other nonsense.
And remember I saw Motorhead at the Liverpool Empire in 1979 in Real Life and got a bollocking off my mother at the time.
Now, I am a real fan of Web2.0 and social media but God give me strength. Second Life is a complete bullshit fest and all those companies jumping onto the bandwagon are, I think, being fed a lot of ill-advised marketing nonsense by their advisers.
Stay away I say. Unless your market audience is priapic teenagers (male and female) who think it is cool to present them selves in SL as a Racoon, an extra from the film Alien, or an M&M sweetie forget it.
Maybe I am getting old, but last time I was in SL it was a bit like being in a nightclub with the Yoof and frankly I felt a bit seedy and voyeuristic. Last time I went to club in Real Life I had a suit on and looked like an off-duty police officer. Naturally, I made my excuses and left.
Real Life is good - it's what you do with it...


Fuelmyblog gets better and better

It's funny how Web2.0 brings people together even if they only live up the road from you.
Last week I visited the excellent fuelmyblog site established by Kevin Dixie to check out the Blog of the Day, which turned out to be Absoluteblog by Tom Eccles, a 16-year-old friend of my son Frank, who lives in the same village as us in Yorkshire. How bizarre is that?
Moreover, Tom was blogging about a visit he, Frank and some friends had made to London to spend a day at ThreeSpeech house courtesy of Sony Playstation.
Back to fuelmyblog - I have to disclose now that I have an interest in the site - it's looking very clunky at the moment but has still managed to attract a significant number of users from across the world, the bulk of them from the US.
However, thanks to the services of Marcus Dyson and his company eleventeenth we shall shortly be re-launching the site with some fantastic Web2.0 based tools enabling more bloggers to join in the fuelmyblog conversation. New feature will include being able to vote blogs up and down the rankings - votes based on quality rather than tags or links.
Other features will include blogradio interviews with FMB members, vidoes, forums and much much more - all will be on stream in the next couple of months. We even have a cool new logo and icon!
While, Kevin is based in France this is very much a British venture so I was heartened to read the Online and World-Beating feature in the Observer today by David Smith who makes the point that you don't have to be in Silicon Valley to come up with a good idea and make it work.
Smith makes the point that London is now the creative hub of the internet in Europe.
I would challenge that as I think that while we are two years behind the US in Web2.0 we are also about two years behind some European countries, particularly France and the Scandinavian countries.
What do you think?
Anyway keep checking FMB for further developments - all feed back welcome.


Pucker up for Valentine's Day

In the spirit of St Valentine’s Day I thought I would post this. I came across this on WikiHow – which I keep on my GoogleFeeds as a curiosity. It’s all about how to French kiss – and I’m not sure why France gets the credit.
I learnt how to do it behind the bike sheds at Bridgefield Comprehensive in Liverpool, refined it in the Sixth Form at the Grange School and finally perfected it at the University of Leeds when I was at my most priapic and met my wife who was very understanding.
By the way there is always the Liverpool Kiss – which Glasgow pinched off us – which is rather more demonstrative and has nothing to do with body fluids unless you count the blood dripping from your nose.
Anyway for all young and old lovers out there here’s a How To Top Ten Tips on the French Kiss:

1. Freshen your breath. You never want to have bad breath when you are about to kiss someone, whether the kiss is a French kiss or not. Because your mouth will be open in a French kiss, fresh breath is especially important. Practice good dental hygiene. Carry mints with you if you think there is even so much as a hint of a chance you might kiss. Avoid foods that leave an unpleasant aftertaste or residue, particularly garlic, onions, milk, and corn.
2. Moisten your lips. Dry lips do not move well together, but you do not want them to be dripping wet either. Just a light brush of your tongue over your lips will be sufficient to moisten them. A little bit of lip balm can help, too, but be warned, lipstick can be awfully messy so blot before you kiss.
3. Angle your head. If your mouths meet dead-on, your noses will get in the way, and you will not be able to kiss deeply or smoothly. To avoid this, tilt your head slightly to one side. Make sure you do not both tilt your heads to the same side.
4. Close your eyes. As you approach for the kiss, look into your partner's eyes, but, once you are close to theirs, close your eyes. It can be a bit of a turnoff to be kissing and going cross-eyed .
5. Start with a gentle and soft closed-mouth kiss. The French kiss is an open-mouth kiss, but do not lunge in with your lips agape like you're going to eat them; instead, open your lips very slowly. If you were learning to speak French, you would probably start with the basics, vocabulary and grammar, before trying to write poetry. Well, the French kiss is like the poetry of kissing, and before you can be good at it, you have to master the closed-mouth kiss. Even after you have added French kissing to your romantic repertoire, it is usually better to start a kiss with closed lips.
6. Go Dutch on the decision to French.
Kissing should be a shared decision. You need to have permission to French kiss someone, but when your lips are locked with your theirs you may want to stop and ask, "Hey, this is great, but can I put my tongue in your mouth?" If that doesn't work out, open your lips slowly and just a little during the kiss so that one of your lips is sandwiched between theirs and one of theirs is between yours. As you are locking and re-locking lips, brush your tongue against your partner's lips ever so slightly. This should make it clear that you want to French kiss. If your partner's tongue does not respond in like fashion or if they pull away, you will have to save the French kiss for another time when you are both ready.
7. Explore with your tongue. If you and your partner seem to be enjoying the open-mouth kiss, slowly try to open your mouth a little bit more and gently push your tongue a little farther into their mouth. The tongue is very sensitive, and the mere act of touching your partner's tongue with your own will be very pleasant and stimulating for each of you. Do not stick your tongue too far into the mouth, as this can be a big turn-off. Instead, just gently and playfully touch tongues.
8. Mix it up. Kisses are like snowflakes: no two are exactly the same. Once you finally feel comfortable French kissing someone, it is tempting to try to do the same thing every time. Add variety. Sometimes kiss deeper, for example, and other times pay more attention to the lips than the tongue. Hold the kiss longer or shorter and explore the art of kissing. When something feels good for each of you, do not abandon it for the sake of variety.
9. Read Body Language. Everybody kisses a little differently, and each person enjoys different things in a kiss - there is no "right" way to kiss. What separates good kissers from bad is an ability to read a partner's body language and be responsive to their partner. Of course if your partner pulls away or seems uncomfortable at any time, understand that you have to slow it down. Listen for cues that tell how much your partner is enjoying a particular kissing maneuver. If you hear a sigh or moan, or they begin kissing you back with increased intensity, realize that they are responding with fervor.
10. Develop your style. Good French kissing, like good kissing of any kind, requires practice. You will get better as you do it more. In addition, the more practice you have with one person, the more comfortable you will feel kissing them and developing a style that suits both of you.

Finally remember to breath. Curiously I am on my own tonight as the missus is up in North Yorkshire with dear old pals.


Is it just me or...

Is it just me or are people posting comments less on their sites? Having done a quick trawl on my blog roll it seems that a lot of my favourite bloggers aren't blogging as much as they used to. Why?
I have to hold my hand up as one of the guilty - as my own posts have fallen recently. Not because I have not had anything interesting to say (mea culpa) and - indeed I do keep a list of things I feel I should write about whether it be about journalism, PR and Web2.0 or the fact I couldn't row at the South Yorkshire Head at the weekend because of the weather - but simply because I have been too busy trying to put food in the mouths of those that depend on me. Family first of course.
When I first started this site in 2006 I wanted to become a small voice in part of a bigger conversation - but the chat seems to have diminished this year and even some of the most prolific bloggers I followed have grown more and more remote - why is this?
Have we grown tied of the medium? - I hope not. Or have we run out of things to say? - again I hope not.
I suspect many of us are caught up in the mundane and the choice between writing something challenging or having a glass of wine and a pizza have become an easier decision to make.
My business at GREEN has never been busier but I do think it is important that I continue this pursuit - not because of what I write or what you write which can be very solopistic - but because what I learn and the people I meet online either through Green Gathering, greenblog or sites like MyBlogLog, FuelMyBlog or Spicey.
Blimey - how's that for a confessional.
One word of advice - if you blog don't stop now because the conversation has only just begun.


Check out Fuelmyblog

Well it works for me. Checkout the fuelmyblog video too...
This is good for bringing bloggers together and getting them to speak to each other.


Should I get a life?

It’s gone 10.20 in the evening and I am thinking of bed. And yet I am writing my blog – why?
God only knows. I’ve nothing to say right now – it’s been a dull day at the office putting together new business pitches and talking with a potential client/investment opportunity in France. And dealing with a client who has a killer preventative measure for H5N1, MRSA et al who the Press prefer to ignore – “Oh, another one?” they ask.
I had a couple of pints at lunch time with the political columnist of a national newspaper about doing an exhibition on the novelist George Gissing – see New Grub Street - to commemorate the 150th anniversary of his birth (he was born in Wakefield, West Yorkshire by the way, where my company has an office).
But here I am recounting the minutia of my day (not something I usually do on Green Gathering) to fill the space.
Well, like starting a diary, once you start you shouldn’t stop. Also, I suspect I was a bit annoyed by Jeff Jarvis’ tacit put down of Charlie Brooker’s column in the Guardian today slagging off not so much the Mac but the average Mac user poseur while there was a much more interesting debate going on at Booker’s column-come-blog.
There done it – I blog therefore I am. By the way I don't hate Macs, as I used them for years in journalism, but for some reason someone with a Mac Book Pro does annoy me for some reason. I don't own an iPod either.


Spice up your blog

Another new social media site which I have been playing around with having been introduced to it by Kevin at FuelMyBlog.
Spicypage, they claim, is a simple idea. Apparently it's: "a concept of perceiving the web through the eyes of the user where the ranking of the sites occurs through user votes. Sure there are ranking sites out there such as, or that rank sites based on daily visitors."
They new sites and blogs might have superb features, but not a huge budget to promote the site's launch, and so will not be seen in or for a few years. The concept of Spicypage is to tell viewers what the best site/blog is out there and they want to know users' experiences with the sites, their likes and dislikes.
Founded in September of 2006, Spicypage is the social online community where anyone shares, talks about what websites or blogs they discover on the net. It is a friendly community that allows everyone to find easier ways to spread the notable sites or blogs when stumbled upon them.
SpicyPage lets you post, comment on , vote on, share your favorites sites or blogs with your friends and others like you.
I'm still testing it but on first experiences it looks like an nice anecdote to Technorati - and is fueled not by tags or links (which I've always thought of as low grade pimping) but by people actually looking at the quality of content.
Will give more reasoned verdict in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, FuelMyBlog has gone crazy.