20 Nov 2012

Two cups of coffee sitting on the wall

Author: will | Filed under: blogger, charity, LBC, Links

Its a simple idea, but in Ireland I think it would need to be adapted slightly, simply by putting a closing time on the wall.
What am I talking about well…

Giving is sometimes easy, but you can make it easier. Say you set up a café where you can buy a cup of coffee. Usually you can buy a cup for yourself, but to give back you can buy a cup "for the wall". The wall gets, essentially an IOU. Where the U can claim a cup of coffee later on. Which means someone down on their luck can come in, and order a cup from the wall.

Would you donate an actual cup of coffee?

I am a terrible blogger. Not just content, but frequency. In an effort to combat this I joined with the loosely affiliated "Loose Bloggers Consortium" with the plan of using the blogging deadline to force me to blog more. It hasn't exactly worked. One of the members is Padmum in India. She brought this story from Italy to my attention on the subject of "Pleasure". She is also an excellent blogger, and its an excellent idea.

Embedded Link

Pleasure: Two stories
Cup of Coffee on the Wall
From the Internet
I sat with my friend in a well-known coffee shop in a neighboring town of Venice, the city of lights and water. As we enjoyed our coffee, a man entered and sat on an empty table beside us. He called the waiter and placed his order saying, ‘Two cups of coffee, one of them there on the wall.’ We heard this order with rather interest and observed that he was served with one cup of coffee but he paid for tw…

I was glad to see Alannah re-started blogging, but to took me seconds to realise that it wasn’t her; she wouldn’t blog about premiership football. Now that the New Year is comfortable over, I have a resolution I’d like you to consider; update your blog at least once this year, even if its just to say “I’m closing this down”.

And now, the long-winded meat of this post.

I am subscribed to over 900 blogs in Google reader. That is a seriously silly amount of information flowing in to my brain. Or at least it would be if they were 900 actively updated blogs.The sad truth is that for a lot of reasons, blogs die. Sometimes its because life gets in the way of a keyboard. Sometimes its because a death stops typing. Sometimes its because the blog was tied to a company position and the blogger has moved to keyboards new.

A silent blog gathers no feed. Or rather, its feed sits in silence. Polls are ignored and it takes up very little attention.

But recently three things happened which makes me question that.

First was the apparent hacking of Tom Raftery’s blog feed. Or rather the feed in Google reader. It appeared as if his blog’s output was replaced by a very spammy list of products. A few hundred a day. I confirmed that he knew about it, but I didn’t want the firehose of, well, DVDs in stock so I un-subscribed while he was trying to figure out its source.

I’m not too sure if the problem was at his servers now, but let me go on.

The next feed to suddenly spring to life was the life of the knitter Alannah of “Over a Cup of Tea”. But her feed was full of the minutia of the UK Premiership Football League. This wasn’t a spam stream of products, it was a stream of valuable (to the fantasy football players I know) information. It was tied to a site called “Over a Cup of Tea”, but that wasn’t the girl I was following. So I unsubscribed.

Then, since many things happen in threes, a third blog sprung to life. This time the technology blog “Its a Feature, not a bug” was replaced by details of a Japanese dance school.Yet another dead blog sprung to life in someone else’s hands, or in this case, shoes.

So what happened.

I have two possible answers, and both lie in Google Reader feeds.

Sometimes Google creates a feed for the blog, this usually turns up if I try to share a link from my phone. The format is something like feedproxy.google.com/~r/nameofblogwithoutspaces followed by a id string for the page. However, some names occur more often than others. If you don’t blog for a while, I suspect that the name get re-cycled to another blog of the same name.

The other possibility is that, while I wasn’t looking, the blog shut down. The domain expired and was reassigned, and a new blog started up in its place. Google then saw “nameofblog.com” with a new feed and assumed that it was a continuation of the previous one, and reassigned it the old feeds it had in place.

Either of them is interesting. Just think, how often do blogs and domain expire? And if a once popular blog goes dark, and then off, if you get that old name or domain, would you suddenly find yourself with an automatic audience (and they aren’t interested).

Personally, I don’t clear out old silent feeds because, since they are silent, they don’t show up. It would take me quite a while before I noticed that someone was silent, unless their quarterly blog posts always began with “must blog more”.

Which is something I need to do more of.

take care… with the feeding of you blog,
Will

I’m not going to write a lot on picturegate.

Partially because Dr Eoin O’Dell a Fellow and Senior Lecturer at the School of Law, Trinity College Dublin has a much better (but a snap shot of a moving target) list of all the Picturegate coverage from which you can find out about the reactions online as well as a legal analysis of the likely court actions.

And partially because around the time that the caricaturist, artist and t-shirt maker Allan Cavanagh was being interviewed by George Hook on Newstalk about the reaction to the Cowen/Casby scandal, I was being interviewed by Fianna Fáil (*waves at the appointment panel monitoring this blog*). I actually brought up the painting/apology and the reaction (seconds later) on Twitter and in the Irish blogging political sphere in the interview.

They were aware of it. This was 20 hours in to the anger.

Since then there has been front page coverage in the Irish newspapers, and coverage across the UK, European and American news. Anger at the apparent change in Garda resources to investigate the hanging of the paintings. Cried of state censorship and stifling of free speech. Questions attempted to in the Dáil.

It’s gone from being a (admittedly distasteful if you are in the Cowen family but) mildly amusing “And Finally…” style story to a major news story which its unlikely that RTÉ will want to touch with a bargepole.

The reaction, well I did a bit of Twitter trending and here are the results from Stream Graphs

picturegate

If I could access this graph for an earlier time the graph would be scary around 21:30h on March 25th when the apology was read out. Twitter exploded for a little while then. It hasn’t stopped yet.  It looks like its easing down a bit, not going to completely die down.

The internet changes things.

Once, if this happened you would have a number of very upset people. Maybe they would ring each other. One to one. And agree in their anger. Now, they can communicate many to many. Pass the latest news to each other behind the mainstream media. React, repeat, retweet the latest information until everyone knows. Dig a story left along by the mainstream media back in to the harsh light of international news coverage.

So if you are going to react, you had better monitor and react quickly.

Things have changed. Its good to talk/type/tweet. Communication behind the scenes will ensure information gets out there, in the same way that the internet treats attempts at censorship (be it a blocked site or bad news) as damage that it routes around. This isn’t always an automatic thing. Often people keep that which they deem important alive.

And kicking.

Repeatedly.

take care,
Will Knott

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

but blogging will be very light for a while.

lights

I was at the Irish Blog Awards last night (and congratulations to all the winners and everyone I met, you’re all gorgeous). I’ll write up more about it, but I still have to edit (red eye) and upload a lot more pictures.

we have a winner

Also tomorrow I’ll be at the XCake developers group meeting  in Dublin, that’s iPhone applications (and games) development. Will you call over?

take care,
Will Knott

So the PR / Bloggers conference took place in Edelman PR. And I’ve seen Alastair McDermott blog post on how a PR pitch should be a social exchange, Rick O’Shea blog on the difference between his media head and his blogger head when approached, Peter Donegan on how blogging is about passion and why you need to be careful with passion. Eoin Kennedy gives a nice concise summary of the event, Christian Hughes’ is even shorter and different, while future PR star Thomas Brunkard gives a different account of the night.

Much thanks need to be given to Damien Mulley and Edelman PR Dublin for orginasing the night, and to Donnchadh O’Leary, Piaras Kelly and Alexia Golez who blogged on how its better to learn about bloggers by trying it out for yourself. In fact most of this post began life as a comment on her blog (so sorry if you’ve read it before).

The unasked advice I would give to PR people is:

Think of bloggers in the same way a journalist thinks of contacts. This contact is the go-to girl for tech related matters. This contact is the go-to guy for music.
That type of thing.

While forming a media list may be “monkey work”, a targeted media / house list is worth its PR weight in gold.

Remember : For us its a hobby, not a job. Few bloggers want to become journalists, those that do already are journalists in their day job.

The professional media expect to be contacted with something thy are not interested in. Some spent their careers writing about stuff they aren’t interested in.

Bloggers have the freedom to write about what interests us. Its “our view”.

Things that may help both sides.
1) Introduce yourself and ASK.

If we bloggers were looking for a contact in X then chances are we would tweet it first and see what happens.

Of course we are following a lot of conversations.
Join in.
Babble.
I’d suggest you mention Collision Course in your first tweet before you “follow” anyone. Most (all) of us look to see “who is this person following me”. Of the 15 there on the night, I think most of us will follow back.
Just let us know who you are first.

Then ask…

E.g.
Would anyone like to go to the launch of the new Orange Tea Box on Tuesday at 8pm.
Or
Could you suggest any bloggers interested in Orange Tea
(I hope that there isn’t an Orange Tea at this point)

You’ll get a few time wasters, but not too many. And you might get a good contact for that one.

But joining Twitter and just tweeting without following anyone will not get noticed. Look up “Network Effect” to see why twitter seems to work.

Get to know twitter clients (software applications) and search.twitter.com.

By the way, Bloggers aren’t looking for freebies. Most are looking for information. If blogger X writes about Tea, they will want to know all about Orange Tea. No freebies needed (unless you count images they can used and information as a freebie).

On that note, if you find that a blogger has blogged about Red tea, see if (s)he has contact details on their blog ans ask, if the blogger would be interested in the forthcoming Orange Tea. No press release, no clips.
Just your details, and why you’re mailing them.

It doesn’t smell like spam, because it isn’t. They may e-mail back abuse, they might accept.

Time consuming. Yes. Cost high.
Potential rewards, higher.

2) Don’t spam…
If you got someone for Orange Tea, they may be interested in Yellow Coffee.
ASK.
But that does not mean they want to be contacted for Blue Cars.
The Blue Cars mail would look like spam. A mail with “I see you were interested in Tea, could I interest you in coffee” wouldn’t. (It does sound automated, but you get my point).
Besides, you’re asking.
You’ve formed a relationship with the blogger, don’t destroy it really quickly.

However…
If you have formed a relationship, asking if they know someone interested in Blue Cars isn’t that spammy. Bloggers tend not to hoard information, if we did, we wouldn’t blog.
I’ve passed on info to people I know who blog about stuff (or are just friends interested in things).

But ask.

3) Read Blogs.
If you invite bloggers to do something, you should have read their blogs first.

Read other blogs. I know, long and boring work but look at what you are interested in only (at first). There are blogs about everything under the sun (and a few things that aren’t). Blogs on Make up. Blogs on Man U. Blogs on cars. Blogs on caravans. Blogs on rashers.

Blogs on PR.

Look at things. Get to know a feed reader.
This is a slow step. If you need a hand to hold, see step 1 to find one.

4) Audio blogs / podcasts
Listen to how others have done it.
F.I.R (For immediate Release, the Hobson and Holtz Report) is the big daddy in this arena. It’s also 90 mins long and twice a week.

For lighter listening, I’d suggest
Media driving” or “Marketing Over Coffee
Yes their focus is different, but they are short. Media Driving is 10 mins, Marketing over Coffee is rarely 30 mins. And only once a week. Think commute times.

They suggest others to listen to as well.

5) Join in.

You might be happy with twitter/facebook/linkedin/justsomerandomsite but by blogging (maybe blogging on PR/Shoes/Cars/Tea) you’ll see why.
For us its a hobby, not a job.
It’s called passion.

Do it yourself. If you can, say what you are working on. If not, blog on what you care about.

And finally…

The Irish blogging community is, surprisingly, a community.
I don’t know anyone who would visit me in hospital via blogs; but its happened (remembering tweets and people dropping food parcels off to people stuck on Casualty trolleys). Wandering up to a random person in a community centre and pitching to them is, well, silly.
Remember that when you want to talk to us.

Its better to ask for permission as a backlash is too late to ask for forgiveness (examples were given in the meeting).

Once we get to know you, we’ll let you screw up.

take care,

Will Knott

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

I’ve only ever made it to one of the Irish Blog Awards. And I want to go to this years (its in the CIA Hotel, great venue in Cork), but Ken was asking for tips for new attendees, yes this post started out as a comment. Most of the tips equally apply to the forthcoming TeenCamp Ireland event.

Here goes.

A stereotypical operatic Valkyrie, from Fredri...
Image via Wikipedia

Don’t be shy. Go and talk to people. The name tags are there for a reason.

Speaking of name tags; Don’t dress up in anything that might be ruined by sticky labels (I’ve heard stories).

Don’t be afraid to admit that you haven’t read their blog (but don’t be surprised if they have a hard time explaining what they blog about). Rick, who won best pop culture blog, didn’t know he was a pop culture blogger until he was nominated.

Do chat.

Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know something. Ask.
This is a new area for a lot of people. Some of use are experts that don’t know it yet. Don’t be surprised if none of the explanations match.

Be prepared to present (this is for TeenCamp and not the Blog Awards). If you think you know a topic really well, be prepared to put your name on the board to get up and talk about something.

Do listen. Telling everyone that you’re wonderful is all well and good, but listening to the responses may teach you where you can be better. Besides, talking and listening is called a conversation.

Don’t be intimidated if it appears that everyone knows everyone else. Some do, after all, they have spent the last year reading about each others lives. Some of these “old friends” may be having their first face to face meeting.

Don’t pretend you are “Twenty”.

Do have fun. (Terms and conditions apply. Fun levels can go up as well as down.)

Go dance. Someone has to.

Do take pictures if you are that way inclined. Don’t take pictures very late in the evening. Or at least, don’t upload. Hair will let down, even by those of us without any.

Start something. “The party ain’t over ’till the fat lady sings”, is wrong. Its over when she stops. Join in, keep the song going. Sometimes the song outlasts the singer in the same way that a chat becomes a tweet, becomes a blog post, becomes a news article, becomes a major incident, becomes an official resignation and arrest becomes slew of blog posts, news items, tweets and international best selling book.  It all starts when two minds meet and actually do things. Get the ball rolling.

Bloggers are people. Some are extroverts who want the world to know about them. Some are business people who are revealing life behind the curtain. Some are shy and reveal parts of their lives to help themselves and others. Some are story tellers, who have to write. Some are investigators who have to help and reveal truths. All are different, but share one thing;

They blog.
They write.
They talk.
Go chat.

Will Knott

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Pat Phelan of MaxRoam is still playing Santa. Or is it a New Year’s blowout? He is offering a Nokia N79 and a 37 inch LCD HDTV. All you have to do is drop over and leave a comment and wait for the courier.

Maybe not wait. There are no rules or regulations or any thing like that, but they will be given away on the evening of the first of January.

Just remember if you got a phone for Christmas send your old one to The Jack & Jill Foundation

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

And thus spake the Mulley

“The 2009 Irish Blog Awards shall take place on February 21 2009.

They shall be in Cork

And are open for nominations until January 14 2009

And they shall be good

except for the dancing

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

This year there are 2219 categories

  1. Best Popculture blog
  2. Best Blog from a Journalist
  3. Best Food/Drink Blog
  4. Best Crafts Blog Best Fashion Blog
  5. Best Arts and Culture Blog
  6. Best Political Blog
  7. Best Group Blog
  8. Best Use of the Irish Language in a Blog
  9. Best Technology Blog/Blogger
  10. Best Sport & Recreation Blog
  11. Best Designed Blog
  12. Best News/Current Affairs Blog
  13. Best Specialist Blog
  14. Best Newcomer
  15. Best Business Blog Best Blog of a Business
  16. Best Music Blog
  17. Special Recognition Award
  18. Best Personal Blog
  19. Best Humor Post Blog
  20. Best Photo Blog
  21. Best Blog Post
  22. Best Blog (There is a best blog award, but its not a nominated one)

May the best bloggers win,
Will Knott

Update: somehow got the list very mixed up

23 Dec 2008

Helping

Author: will | Filed under: 2008, blogger, bloggers, charity, creativity, mobile phones, Writing

I want to tell you a story, about Catherine Brodigan.

She put together the “Homepages” book. Homepages is a unique collection of stories and photographs, the first of its kind in Ireland. The nation’s best bloggers hold forth on the theme of “home”, covering everything from pets and expat life to parenting and the Kellogg’s Variety Pack. By turns hilarious, heartbreaking and thought-provoking, it promises a captivating read and showcases some of Ireland’s best undiscovered writing talent. All proceeds from the sale of each book, compiled on an entirely voluntary basis, go directly to Focus Ireland, who provide services and support for people who are homeless across Ireland.

320_5180605

The book can’t be bought in any shops, but is available on a “print-on-demand” basis for €14 from Lulu.

Also on the charity theme, the Elfish Damien Mulley is asking that people donate their mobile phones (and their chargers) to the Jack and Jill Foundation who recycle said mobile phones. He is asking that people pass a note in the jiffybag leave a comment on his offer post making sure you add some referer details (as in “WillKnott.ie sent me”)  and put their phone with the recharger bits in a jiffybag and send them to their freepost address: The Jack and Jill Mobile Appeal, Freepost, Ratoath Road , Finglas, Dublin 11.  You see, he’s offering a prizes for your kindness  (Damien is blaming Pat Phelan for this).

For everyone that donates one or more mobile phones to the charity, they’ll be entered into a draw for three prizes (First, second and third out of hat) – a Nokia 5220, a Voyager 815 bluetooth headset and an Elextex rubberised portable keyboard for phones. The blogger who gets these people to donate phones will also be entered into a draw for a Nokia 810 Internet Tablet.

Now, I’ll admit, that as much as I want to play with one, I don’t need the Nokia tablet. So I’ll ask that if you donate, you add your details and a note saying that you found out about this through who ever the first commenter on this blog post is.

So go out there and help someone. It’s the Christmas spirit thing to do.

take care,

Will Knott

Update: This post was updated as I included the wrong information to win your prize.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

This post has changed direction several times in the last three days.

At first I was going to write about green issues. What happened was that I bumped in to a pair of representatives for Change.ie, a government run site for creating a plan of action for environmental change and reducing Ireland’s (and maybe the world’s) carbon footprint. I told the reps that I was surprised that there hadn’t been blogger outreach to other blogs concerning green issues, and pointed out a few that I knew of.

One rep asked me to e-mail in the details of the sites, the idea was to get something of an aggregator going.

The first person who came to mind was Ms. Phoebe Bright…
bright
who seems slightly miffed in this photo about what happened next.

Phoebe presented at the recent Open Coffee BBQ about energy, energy demand and a technological solutions to change the thinking currently driving our consumption habits. Well worth a read if you weren’t at teh presentation.

Also, how can I forget Greennav. Actually I did, which is why I e-mailed in the links. Greennav is an odd mix of a group blog in that anyone can add to it. So its one better than an aggregator, is something of a community. And yes its full of green hints and tips.

Even the landscape gardener Peter Donegan has added a collection of green hints and tips to his site.

And now a change in direction.

Ladies and gentlemen. Get them together, as the response from the government sources was “that’s nice, anyone can blog, go ahead”. Or a “we’ll do nothing thank you”.

This is one of those areas where we should collaborate, and double, nay triple the voices to get the messages, and actions out there. A green meme. Not just an internet meme but a get off our backsides and do something about it meme.

I’m just not sure what.

But its this tendency for collaboration which brings me to to the next change of directions, sponsored by Twenty Major and Adrian Weckler.

They have complained about the fact that …

  1. We’re not angry and fighting enough. (But Mr Weckler things me are too angry).
  2. We aim for consensus
  3. We don’t do enough investigative journalism
  4. Bloggers seem to be people who are fake

Well lets see.

I know that I don’t intend to ever get close to Granddad without a stab-proof vest, but the Irish blog-sphere is a small place. If you don’t count Bebo blogs, you could fit most of the Irish bloggers in a medium hotel for an awards ceremony. Because we are a small group, the chances of prolonged bickering are few. Grudges can be held, but so can tongues. And the word “community” tends to hold sway. (Besides, Twitter is the place for small short-lived Irish fire fights). And besides, Barcamps, Tweet-ups, Open Coffee clubs, photo-walks and general get-togethers happen enough to prevent full blown flame wars that lead to bits going missing.

As for a consensus. Well, the early Irish bloggers were either techies, or non-technical people in the technology industry (sometimes in the one person). In this world, standards mean a lot. Consensus gets the job done. And could a barcamp exist without consensus?

As for people who aren’t and don’t aspire to be investigative journalists not doing enough investigative journalism for Mr Wreckler’s liking. Well, circular logic only gets you so far. Maybe you would be willing to teach us the way, and teach us, using your blog or course, on how to do these investigations. I think a few hundred well trained (even if we are bored, lonely or angry) bloggers might do you some justice. (Besides you forgot about Maman Poulet teaching journalists how to do their jobs when it came to Michael Lynn).

And finally, “bloggers are fake”. Now he’s not talking about fiction blogs, nor blogs maintained by a fictional (or pseudonymous) character. He’s talking about people who create great blogs, to get employment, and once employed, stop blogging. I can only assume that he means people who want to write for a living, and are using their blog as a portfolio in the same way that an artist creates work for themselves, to get their own style (or voice) and use that portfolio as a way to become a writer.

Well, if they exist, and I actually expect that they do, then more luck to them. If the only reason they wrote was to get someone to pay for the writing, then isn’t it better that they stop blogging?

Can we all agree to that?

take care,
Will Knott

Zemanta Pixie