Category Archives: Social Media

My First STUB

Had a lovely social in The Beresford Hotel in Sydney Wed night, thanks to a tip-off from the lads at Happener, with some charming ad interesting bods. I really love this friendly city and the open warm connections it is possible to make here. Anyway, the group is called a STUB, is for Sydney twitterers and is a great way to place-a-face with the people we exchange messages with through Twitter on a daily basis. if you’re in Sydney, and you tweet, consider following @STUB, who also have a site with more info.

Read about it from ShiftedPixel‘s blog with pics included.

UX minds, futurists, start-up supporters, coders and recruiters, social networking tarts and generally switched on and locked-in people, not to mention a gerat discussion about fancy-shmancy Italian cooking. Thanks, mish!

Through the STUB (Sydney Twitter Underground Brigade BTW) I found out about BarCamp Sydney and am talking about Wordcamp Australia and hope to attend another webby meet shortly. There is plenty to get stuck into here but the next week will be catching up on exiting remote work for London, a new office space in Surry Hills, clearing out the garden (who thought planting bamboo was a good idea? 6ft in 2 weeks! ick!), follow up meetings with a few agencies and hopefully a steak ‘n’ beer with some mates, and a Laksa with my lovely (thanks for the recommendation Nick).

Now where’s that cat collar??? Mrow?

Act in haste, repent at leisure

I just found out first-hand what that means.

I posted a comment to an article on a popular UK newspaper’s website. (Don’t ask – I’m not tellin’!). The thing is, I empathised what the writer was writing about in broad terms, and, as a good leftie, wanted to add my un-expert three pence worth. So I, gulp, signed off with a phrase from my bad old days on the placard carrying, peacenik, socialist demonstration circuit, you know the one, which assumes anyone with a credit history is somehow deserving of the suffering the economy rains down on him/her. I won’t repeat it now in case you’re clever and decide to google it, you cheeky monkey!

So I posted it, and several hours later reread the article and my comment, glaringly including my full, real name and blatantly condemning both the government and several important companies to enforced manual labour and severe caloric deprivation. … and a few typos, which, to be perfectly honest, were my first concern, stickler that I am for such things.

“Do I really want to stand by that statement”, I asked myself, and was also asked by my partner, and would I have said exactly the same thing to the people it was directed at, to their face? No I wouldn’t, of course. I would have been more circumspect, diplomatic and, polite. Yeah, polite, something you don’t see a ton of in open discussions on the internet. The more I read my comments, the more I empathised with their plight (even if it was self-imposed and arrogant) and could not stick to my initial statement. Not to mention, there was my NAME, right there, in Verdana 14 px! A name they could google and find out about me with, something I could no longer be faceless and anonymous behind.

So I sent email, after email after email as if it were a complaint (there was no facility to edit my own comment, but at least they let you reportit to avoid libel charges) and asked them to remove my full name so I didn’t have to look at it anymore. 12 hours later, the name was removed and I withdrew back into the crowd, thinking deeply on what it really felt like, and ultimately what it was that was achieved by being able to shout so easily, so anonymously (or not!) and get away with it.

In my first post here I talked about the joy of quick contact with others in the world. Yesterday I experienced the flipside, the embarrassment of having my knee-jerk effluvia dross instantly published and attributed. Fortunately the internet is noisy enough that my words will soon dissapear into the background of the white-hot white noise

The world doesn’t need another Facebook App

OK so it’s been written about by voices more dextrous than mine but I felt I had to have a go. I just wrote my paltry list of “friends” that I would prefer it if they did not send me any more invites to bite their Zombie’s Friends character, or tend their Lil’ Green Patch of Who’s Sexier than who’s friends’ Zombie, or invite me to the Zombie bloody Karma Astrology Chart!


I love the SuperWall, very much enjoy getting pictures of recent exploits and journeys they’ve taken, and the new chat feature is great! They never got twitter to work properly, that’s a different story, but really, c’mon, do we really need these little apps that add nothing to our online relationships? If the point of Facebook is to keep in touch, however tenuously, with people we love, like or know, then why put barriers between our communications rather than lubricants? (I’m sure someone has created a “My Favourite Sexual Lubricant” FB App, but that’s another story!). It’s not their fault, open up an API (that’s Application Programming Interface to you humans out there) to the general public and every geek with two digits to spare will start to get interested, and want to write something mere mortals will like. Worse, som people will write something rather similar to what others have created, in order to nab some of their kudos.

But I started to find some real annoyances with these FB Apps. They sucked time out of my life for little gain. I found myself one day spending 20 minutes of my life raking my Lil’ Green Patch (allegedly to plant a real tree somewhere – yeah, right!), and buying a hose and rake, and trowel, and sending other friends cutesy anthropomorphic plants for their gardens…, when what I was truly interested in was how were these people feeling today, what do they think about the upcoming elections or latest political gaffe or recommending music or films…..

So my FB friends have now been notified! No more pictures of drinks or spanks with virtual leather gloved mistresses or invitations to vote on who looks most like XXX from the TV show YYY (haven’t got a telly anyway!!). But pictures from your real life trip or a message that you are feeling the pinch of the banking debacle or read a great book, saw a great film or ate a great meal and want us all to know about it, brill!

More of that please!

The invisible mayor

For those of you not in London, there is a very heated mayoral election campaign on at the moment, of comparable intensity to the current US Democratic party campaign. For the first time, there are presentable options to the incumbent and it no longer feels like a one horse race, as it was the previous two elections.

So what has the London mayoral election got to do with the WWW?

Quite a lot if you want to talk about user-centred design, accessibility, and public transport (they don’t call it the Information Superhighway for nothing).

Y’see, the incumbent, Ken Livingstone, is someone who elicits passionate opinions like no other candidate has. Pretty much everyone in London knows him and what he looks like and either thinks he is great and has done a great deal for London, or he is a megalomaniac who is eroding our individual rights. Those who know me know what I think. He is a keen supporter of public services across the capital, and has implemented imaginative and controversial schemes, like charging cars £8 GBP per day to drive a car in the capital.

I get the opportunity to see mayor Ken quite a bit as he lives in my neighbourhood and uses the same tube station as me, and I often ask myself how many major world cities has a powerful, well-paid mayor taking the tube/subway to work, sharing the experience of the public transport system with the rest of us? I am certain no other equally public figure shares this activity in London. Particularly interesting in light of the fact that several people over the years have placed bombs on public transport, from the IRA in the 70’s to their more eastern bretheren in the noughties.

So how does he cope? Easy – no one bugs him because he never catches anyone’s eye and focuses on himself. It is amazing how invisible he can make himself. It is an amazing example of someone both accessible and invisible, perfectly open to be approached, but never, at least in my presence, actually approached.

So as a user, he knows the transport system personally, as a mayor he is accessible, yet as an individual he is invisible and remote.

Quite a trick!