Eggs and baskets

Being away from here has given me a chance to focus intensely on launching a new magazine without too many distractions. We now have five issues under our belt and I have reaquainted myself with the rhythms of conventional publishing. I know where the peaks and troughs of effort lie and I can get back to a more normal and less distorted life in the troughs.

Creating, editing and writing for Blue & Green Tomorrow has been a lot of fun and a lot of hard work. And it couldn't have happened without Simon, Lori and Dominic (publisher, sub-editor and designer respectively) and, of course, our marvellous contributors. Other people take care of 'webifying' the magazine at You can register (free) which gives you an account tab and access to digital copies of the magazine. Otherwise much of the content is publicly available under the various themed tabs.

Even through the mayhem of the launch, I've continued to do the occasional course on how to handle the media, often with my long-time partner in crime, Martin Banks. We used to call ourselves 'Press Here' but, when we both deviated out into analysis work, we sold the domain and renamed ourselves greybeards. One look at our photos will tell you why. I also run the odd writing skills workshop for business people.

And, now, here I am blogging again. Given the nature of the magazine, I suspect that I'll be blogging more about sustainability (could a word possibly sound more boring?) than about IT. But it's hard to keep me away from software. Talking of which, I now have an HTC Desire smartphone running Android, and jolly pleased I am too. That could be another running theme.

We'll see. But, as you can see from the title, I think that a deliberate spread of activities, providing I can do all of them well, will makes for a more balanced and fulfilling life than having all my eggs in one basket.

So, the last post turned out not to be The Last Post after all, just a pause while I gathered my wits.

See you again soon.



Minimising my digital pollution

After my recent agonising about whether to continue with Teblog (this blog), I’ve decided to hang in there. Focus will be around what interests me. And, since I’m essentially a communicator (training, writing, etc) and productivity tool publisher (BrainStorm), I doubt the content will change hugely. Except I’m going to allow a bit more of me to show through.

But… I do not intend to pollute the digital atmosphere with a posting frequency or content designed to attract attention or popularity. Not that I ever did.

I confess to blogging elsewhere – three other places, in fact, shortly to be four (fingers crossed), but I will try to stick to what I think is usefully informative or amusing. The exception in Teblog is that I might indulge in the occasional bit of trumpet-blowing. (A new release of my software or a link to something I’ve written elsewhere, for example.) If the daily visits reaches zero or close to it, I’ll stop.

What sparked this post was a) the afore-mentioned agonising (thanks
for you feedback folks) and b) I woke up today to 115 overnight emails,
114 of which were spam. The one that wasn’t was a Facebook connection from that nice Mr Al Tepper, ex green blogger and now head of marketing at ethical retailer, Natural Collection.
I’m only in there because friends are raving about it, but I’m buggered
if I want to hand over all my email addresses to FaceBook.

Abandoned blogs

Warning: I’m thinking out loud here.

Have you noticed that some bloggers’ output drops dramatically when they get a real job?

Or, in my case, when they find themselves blogging elsewhere. Which is more or less the same thing.

At first, it wasn’t a big deal. I had this blog and thinkerlog, which I updated as and when something I thought might interest to my readers cropped up. The postings weren’t onerous and, since I wasn’t anxious to become an A-lister, sporadicness (is that a word?) was not really an issue.

Information World Review got me writing weekly blog posts last year and, because the topic matter was somewhat distinct from teblog and thinkerlog, I happily kept all three trundling along. Then, a couple of months ago, I started writing a new weekly blog post for SmallBizPod’s small business technology section. Suddenly, I found myself defocusing from this blog. Instead of "oh, this is interesting, I’ll blog it", it became a case of "oh yes, I really ought to turn my mind to teblog."

And it’s going to get worse. I have just been signed up to write even more blogs for someone else, as well as writing a weekly editorial piece for them. It seems as if this particular blog may wither away, despite my residual affection for it. (Thanks Adriana, Jackie and Suw, by the way, for kick-starting me all that time ago.)

I could change it to a highly personal Twitter-like blog, but my ego isn’t big enough to think that the minutiae of my life is of interest to anyone. Not even my nearest and dearest.

Perhaps the question is, "how much can I add to a conversation around effective communication?" The answer is probably "not a lot." I still help people in real life, but it is the interplay between the participants that creates the value, not me spouting off in a blog.

If no-one comments, I guess I have my answer.


Trevor Cook and Lee Hopkins explain social media

Trevor Cook (Australia-based PR man with common sense) has teamed up with online communications whizz, Lee Hopkins to write an eBook (free) on social media.

Since I trust Trevor, through his blogging, I recommend the book. I have scanned it and it runs through blogging, podcasting, RSS from the communications (not surprisingly) perspective. If you are in any doubt about what this is all about, then do read it. It explains everything clearly, provides masses of useful links, provides good advice and illustrates with case studies.

Keith Collins: big company insight + marketing + strategic social media

Keith Collins is a relative newcomer to active blogging but he has a lot of big-company marketing experience. (Dell, Xerox…)

To keep things simple, let’s call him a strategic blogging evangelist. That’s not to say that he thinks a blog is the answer to every company’s communication prayers. It’s not. But if he thinks it is, he will explain the whys and wherefores in business terms.

Since we both live slightly to the west of London, we met for a chat yesterday morning. Turns out we had lots of business acquaintances in common and, having met online anyway, our get-together got off to a fast start. The meeting made me think hard about my own role in life. As we left each other, I said "we’re complementary. My interest is in the use of social software inside the firewall and yours is in its use outside."

Driving home I realised that, while true, that only related to my journalistic focus. My training/mentoring focus is entirely about companies communicating effectively with the outside world – whether that’s the press, venture capitalists, the blogosphere or anyone else. In that sense, Keith and I are a lot closer. The big difference is that I’m coming principally from a media perspective and he’s coming from a big company/marketing perspective. Instead of being back-to-back at the edge of the enterprise, we find ourselves face-to-face.

I’ve met loads of social media evangelists but this is the first one I’ve met who also has an intimate practical understanding from the marketing and business perspective. (I hope the many PR and marcomms people I know will understand why I’ve excluded them from that statement.)

I have no idea whether Keith and I will meet again, or work together. Anything is possible. But I thought I’d tip you off about his existence.