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Knight of the sound fable June 30, 2006

Posted by James Warren in apropos of nothing.

Off topic, but if you have a spare 20 minutes (I know, I know), you could do a lot worse than spend them enjoying this presentation by Sir Ken Robinson to the TED (Technology, Education and Design) conference earlier this year (via the excellent Presentation Zen blog).  Very funny, very clever – inspirational stuff.

Newsatrolysis (a.k.a. Factgasm) June 26, 2006

Posted by James Warren in cool, geeky stuff, media, social media, web 2.0.
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Check out Map of the News (was catching up on my feeds and found this via Andy Lark's blog).  Although I've only been playing with it for a few minutes, I already think it is fantastic.  For full effect, maximise your browser.  If I could get an RSS reader to display my feeds in a similar way (different colours for different categories, the larger the headline the more 'dugg' the story…) keeping up to date with what's important would be a breeze – or at least more of a breeze than it is at the moment (a gust, perhaps?).

Also, its name reminds me of The Day Today, which can only be a good thing.  Anyway, my first impressions of Map of the News are such that I'm considering making it my homepage – which probably says more about Google's current travails more than anything else I could type on the matter…  But that topic will have to wait for a separate post.

Snoop Diggy Digg June 24, 2006

Posted by James Warren in geeky stuff, social media, web 2.0.
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Time to crack open the gin 'n juice…  TechCrunch has had a scoop snoop at the next iteration of Digg, which will be unveiled on Monday (evening UK time).  Needless to say, the screenshots look superfly and I look forward to giving it a try, erm, G.

I *think* they’re serious June 24, 2006

Posted by James Warren in funny, pr.
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Check out the results of this (presumably enormous) joint venture between a Pleon intern and an Amsterdam zoologist.  No mention of skunks, chameleons or dodos, though…  More's the pity.

In fact, this looks like an interesting methodology, and generally I'm a sucker for this sort of innovation and fresh thinking.  But just as I was beginning to think Pleon's animal zodiac had legs, I saw the picture below.  I'd like to wish my chum, ex-colleague and soon-to-be-animal-astrologer Nick Morris the very best of luck trying to tell a client it's a naked mole-rat while keeping a straight face.


IPG and Facebook, sitting in a tree… June 19, 2006

Posted by James Warren in marketing, social media, web 2.0, work.
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Slightly late to this, but Interpublic Group (the company that owns Weber Shandwick, my employer) is reportedly negotiating for a small stake in Facebook, the social networking site.  Interesting development.  More on this as it happens.

Outted June 19, 2006

Posted by James Warren in blog.

So there I was, minding my own business, quietly building up a portfolio of blog entries before launching myself on an unsuspecting blogosphere, when I am encouraged to out myself prematurely.  Drew B asks, very politely, why I don't blog.  Richard Bailey goes a little further, quite correctly.

Well, gentlemen, here I am.  Bear with me as I finish setting up the site.  In the next day or so I'll kick things off properly – after which you can expect daily posts (work commitments allowing) and lots of extraordinary insight.  Just like this.

Thanks for having me.

Blackberry Ripple June 17, 2006

Posted by James Warren in apropos of nothing, mobile.

As I was growing up, raspberry ripple was my favourite flavour of ice cream (closely followed by mint choc chip, fact fans).  These days however I am exposed on a daily basis to Blackberry ripple.  This is the term I have coined for the peculiar effect achievable in a full train carriage by getting one's Blackberry out.  One by one, all other owners of these mobile email devices then dig into their pockets/bags and get theirs out too.  So, within 30 seconds of one device being unleashed, half the carriage is full of commuters using theirs.  Seriously, try it yourself if you don't believe me.  Works every time.

Is this strange phenomenon anything to do with a new virulent work ethic among UK business people?  Or is it simply a case of classic one-up manship?  "I too am an executive of import and influence because I am able to connect remotely to my email – and the company could not function without my constant input.  Oh and I'm better paid than you because mine has a colour screen."  I'll let you decide.

Newer news June 16, 2006

Posted by James Warren in media.
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The Guardian this week kicked off its 'web first' strategy, upsetting a couple of centuries' worth of deadline-driven, inky-fingered tradition.  This is incredibly significant, not just because it acknowledges what everyone has known, but the newspaper industry has been afraid to mention – that an international audience expects news to be broken and immediately analysed online – but also because it comes in the same week that two other stalwarts of the UK media announced significant changes to their strategies.

First, and as a polar extreme to The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph announced that it was considering keeping news back from its online version until later in the day, with the stated intention of driving more morning sales of the printed paper.  Second, The Times added to its recent announcement that it was planning to build on the success of its online brand by launching a print version in the United States, by indicating it was following The Guardian's lead and publishing international stories to the web first.

So, lots of jockeying for position in the UK media market.  My quick and dirty analysis: The Guardian, much like its compatriot the BBC, rarely gets things wrong from an online perspective.  Its head of digital publishing, Simon Waldman, is a super-smart bloke – even if he does blog with frustrating irregularity – and as a result The Guardian's online plays generally make sense.

The Daily Telegraph, bless it, seems confused.  I can understand the thinking, but it does strike me as desparately out of touch.  Does The Telegraph want to position itself as a cutting-edge media powerhouse (and its online revamp and excellent podcast activity would suggest that it does), or does it want to lose the online readers it has to a more 'up-to-date' media outlet?

Finally, the decision of The Times to launch a North American edition demonstrates the benefits of developing a strong online brand, and the international 'respect' (and therefore opportunity) it can create.  It also reflects well on the competitive and independent nature of the UK newspaper industry.

While we're on the subject of The Independent (which we're not), what future does its pay-per-view policy have…?

In Business June 16, 2006

Posted by James Warren in media, social media.
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Last night's In Business on Radio 4 was required listening for anyone even remotely interested in this web 2.0 malarkey.  Not that I heard it last night, of course.  But you can listen again via the site, or download here.

Campbell caught offside June 12, 2006

Posted by James Warren in media.
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Political spin doctor extraordinaire Alastair Campbell is blogging the World Cup for The Labour Party.  Begs the question: why?

Thanks to his somewhat contentious instruction to women columnists covering football's global showcase – "Take a holiday" – the comments make for entertaining reading, even if the number visible for any one post seems to have been capped at 50.  No RSS feed, either.  Yellow card.