Five things on Friday #41

Things of note for the week ending October 12th, 2012


1. Awesome birdhouses
From the stylish to the down right scary, these incredible birdhouses have been made specifically to raise money for charity (which is doubly awesome). The whole set is quite fantastic and the one I’ve used above does nothing to illustrate how artistic the creators get…  it just really makes me laugh.


2. Blogger Engagement
A good piece of blogger engagement goes a long way. This is not news admittedly and there’s probably enough in this to warrant another blog post for another day (note to self: start this draft). But for now, let’s talk about some great pieces that have happened lately.

First, from the lovely chaps looking after social media for Tsingtao Beer. I’m not a huge Tsingtao drinker but, after some great banter with the aforementioned digital team – I know I’m going to order it next time I’m out for Chinese, certainly. I’m also going to vote* in the Tsingtao Beer ‘Legacy of Taste‘ competition, which is the search to find Britain’s favourite Chinese restaurant. You should vote too.

Second, Motorola announced their brand new Motorola RAZR i the other week and, in all fairness, I rarely take notice of anything Motorola do as I’ve never used any of their devices and it’s not a brand that’s ever interested me. However, after a delightful email from their representatives here in Europe, not only have I LIKED THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE but I’ve also mentioned the phone a couple of times on the podcast AND I’m also looking forward to actually getting my hands on one and having a play.

That’s all down to decent blogger engagement.

Look, I know this all sounds incredibly pompous but I collect blogger engagement. When I was engagement director at the ‘heads I made it my job to constantly review with the way we engaged with different communities; I have given entire presentations (internally, of course) based around bad engagement copy. It’s a habit I’ve kept since leaving and well, blogger engagement done well should be applauded more often.

So, Christine at Edelman and Tom/Robbie at McCann, if you’re reading this – good work.

3. BMX Boy
This is four year old Malcolm, out BMX-ing/Mountain-biking with his dad. It’s nine minutes of smiling from ear to ear.

My dad and I used to go scrambling around tracks like that. I miss it.

4. The Mayor of Mars
The Mars Curiosity Rover is using Foursquare to track its progress across that reddest of planets and, just last week, it became the Mayor of the Gale Crater.

I love love love the way that the team at NASA are using social media tor drive interest around this most awesome of human exploratory missions. And big up to the Foursquare team who are helping them do just that. Well done.

5. Stupid stuff
My girlfriend sent me this during the week and for some reason it makes me crack up just looking at it/him –

I’m laughing right now. Hahahaha… the artist behind this masterpiece is one Natalie Dee.

Go seek her out.

Bonuses this week: a 15min speech from the Australian Prime Minister labelling the leader of the opposition a hyprocritcal misogynist is absolutely fantastic (seriously, watch it); a blog post entitled ‘the most interesting underpants in London‘ really does live up to its name; and finally, this is probably the best volcano video you’ve ever seen – hit HD, make it full screen and ENJOY.


*If you’re interested, Royal China got my vote. 

Trimming in Public – Part 1

Where do I start?

About three years ago, a good chap I know decided he’d ‘become a better blogger‘, by cleaning out his RSS reader in public. I can’t remember how far he got (Did you actually finish it, Stefan?), but I remember reading avidly.

For those that don’t know, RSS, is a really easy way to consume web-based content. Imagine every site you look at, every blog you read, has a hook attached to it. That’s its RSS feed. Every time new content gets published, a new hook is added. Simple. An RSS reader is your fishing rod; trawling the internet looking for new hooks. You add a website’s RSS feed to your reader and, whenever a new hook appears, the reader picks it up, and brings the content attached, to you. I use Google Reader, but other readers are available. Also, Stefan’s original post has a fairly decent guide to RSS as well.

Where was I? 

That’s right, I’m taking out the trash. Ever since Google Reader went from being awesome to just ‘OK’, my intake of cool stuff has dropped a fair bit. To continue curating and preening, I’m going to publicly air my laundry – aka ‘trimming in public’ – hopefully making some room for more feeds and generally sharing the wealth of content that I’ve picked up over the years.

As Stefan so eloquently puts it –

With 293 RSS feeds and only 24 hours in my day, I desperately need to trim this sucker down. I used to be able to “hit zero,” also known as reading all my RSS items, but lately it has been impossible. I could have done this in private, during my own time, but one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure. By going through my entire list of 293 RSS feeds, 10 feeds a day, I hope that I can point you to some new sites and services you may have never heard of. I also have a strong ethos regarding sharing. If I find something interesting, awesome or worthy of attention, I share it with my friends and with the world on my Twitter account. I expect people to do the same and at the end of the day we, as a people, will put an end to boredom.

And I’m all for it.

I’ve got 279 (so not too dissimilar).
10 feeds an episode (that’s around 28 blog posts).
Numbers through letters (1-Z).

Let’s do this.

1000heads | Socialcast Activity Stream
Back at the ‘heads, we used Socialcast as our internal social network of choice. Very similar to Facebook (and Jaiku, actually) it was a great way to share information across the company. I don’t work at 1000heads anymore, so the internal RSS feed of all goings on should definitely go.
Decision: Remove

1000heads: The Word of Mouth People
Still with the ‘heads as we make our way through the numbers, this is the blog of my former employer and, from time to time, it’s still a bloody good read. Molly, Riccardo, lately Patrick, and sometimes even Robbie, all (semi-)regularly contribute to pull different insights from in and around all things word of mouth. An interesting nexus of offline, online, social media and experiential ideas; this relationships agency blog is a keeper.
Decision: Keep

101 Things to Do in London
I met Ben Wallace back in April 2011, on the Transmongolian Railway – and I honestly could not have asked for a better travel buddy. There were four of us all thrown together that month, but Ben and I giggled and laughed like a couple of long lost best mates the whole way through (sometimes, with hats). 101 Things to Do in London is his attempt at trying to complete the Timeout 101 things to do in London before the Olympic games. Boldly assisted by his other half, Fliss, 101TTDIL is not only quite a fun read but also a handy guide to what is and what isn’t, worth your tourist money here in London town. Ben hasn’t got long left, so I’m staying tuned.
Decision: Keep

101 W*nkers
I am massively disappointed that this site has stopped publishing. From the looks of the page now, the URL hasn’t been renewed either (and has been bought by ads asking me if I’m into wife-swapping – ooer). What 101W used to be a catalogue of the insults and comments Guardian journalist, Dawn Foster, had shouted at her whilst riding her bike (the older and out of date 101W Tumblr site is still around, for reference purposes). I don’t know why she’s stopped writing, but now the site is gone I guess my choice is easy.
Decision: Remove

Martin Bryant is a smart chap. He’s sharp and I like his writing but I guess being Managing Editor at The Next Web is kind of a busy gig, as this blog hasn’t been updated since July 2009. Definitely time for some RSS house-keeping here… But, hang on, having a kick around Martin’s profile on TNW and I’ve found his new blog – Guess I’ll be subscribing to that then. In the meantime however, 14sandwiches can go.
Decision: Remove

25 lttrs n th alphbt
The blog of a senior planner bloke from advertising agency, DARE. This very occasionally updated blog provides rants, moans and sometimes even insights around all things advertisingy. That aside,  Nick Emmel is a lovely chap, and once wore my indian headress.
Decision: Keep

(365) Things That Make Me Happy

Back in my SpinVox days, Chris Funderberg was one of the badasses that worked down in the IT room. The man got stuff done, and rarely took any prisoners. I remember having a few interesting chats with him over the two years we spent working under the same roof together, on a myriad of subjects, and his tumblr blog is a definite fave. Initially setup as a 365 project (blog one thing that makes you happy, for every day in the year) he’s now dropped the 365 and has continued posting his happiness for a good couple of years. Great imagery, quotes and druidism.
Decision: Keep

Defunct blog of an ex-employer’s ex-client’s community.
Decision: Remove

4 Fuks Saké
A relatively new addition to my Google Reader, I’ve not read enough to make an informed decision. Although if Jim’s last post ‘Hey Guys, I’m A Bit Uncomfortable You Made A $1bn. Let’s Have A Diet Coke And Talk.‘ is anything to go by, it’s a keeper.
Decision: Keep

Without doubt the best Foursquare app to ever grace a Symbian mobile phone, 4squick is a gorgeous piece of software. Alas, a few things are working against it staying: First, the developers have a fair bit on their collective plates (babies and new jobs and all sorts), second, I no longer have a Symbian phone (that I use regularly) and third, the Symbian platform is on its way out.
Decision: Remove

Part one complete. Part two to come when I get ’round to it.