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Working for the BBC….

Working for the BBC….

means a few surprises from time to time. Like telling people that it’s not a place where they shower you with money while you hang out backstage with Matt Smith or even Huw Edwards, for instance. Although there are a few fantastic non-financial bonuses, of course – like working on election night. Really must blog about that one day.

Anyway, it also makes for the occasional surprise in the rest of your life – like this ad I spotted on my Facebook page, basically begging for a job.

Suffice to say that most of the people that I know who are in a position to hire someone at the BBC don’t have Facebook accounts, as far as I know. Although I dare say the person who placed that advert would find such non-social-media people to be freaks of the highest order…

FourSquare in the UK – finally there’s a use. Oh.

FourSquare in the UK – finally there’s a use. Oh.

Like many people who use FourSquare, I often wonder if there’s actually any point to checking in to a location, aside from point scoring and the fact I’m usually bored at a bus stop.

American friends of mine tell of strange legends whereby if you show you’re a Mayor at certain locations, the staff there look kindly upon you and give you a bonus. But I thought that’d never come here.

Until I heard that the West12 Shopping Centre in Shepherds Bush is offering a free SuperShake to the Mayor of that location in any one week. They’re incredibly active on the social media front, what with having a Twitter feed and a Facebook page.

Unfortunately, social media can only go so far. The reality of the West12 Shopping Centre is that it was a slightly dowdy and dying shopping mall even before the heavy big-guns of Westfield moved in opposite. There’s a gym, a supermarket, a cinema and a pub but most of the units are to let and there’s nothing there to draw people in aside from for the basic needs of the week.

So how are companies in the UK actually using FourSquare? Or is it doomed to go the way of the even more pointless Twitter game Spymaster, which at one point everyone seemed to be playing until they all realised it was useless and had no end goal?

You can link in any time you like…

You can link in any time you like…

LinkedIn has become the defacto premiere website for making business connections, so as a consequence all these groups have sprung up promising to connect you to more and more people. I joined a few groups, but they weren’t quite what I was looking for. So I wanted to leave a group.

You’d have thought a website dedicated to business professionals would make it easy to do what you need to do – like leaving a group. But oh no.

You can’t leave a group from your group settings page. Oh no, that’d be far too obvious.

Instead, you have to go to a listing of all your groups, and click on the tiny word that says Actions by each link. And I had to do that by consulting the Help page.

LinkedIn, sort it out!

(Headline courtesy of @suitov)

When ping doesn't get you much pong

When ping doesn't get you much pong

Yahoo! Ping Pong-23

Originally uploaded by Ping London

(In other words, great, you got sponsorship, where’s the return?)

Across London, ping pong tables have sprouted up to encourage Londoners to have a go at ping pong/whiff whaff. All nicely decorated with the various sponsors’ logos, including Yahoo!

Accompanying these tables are some leaflets about the Ping London project, which also – of course – encourage you to share your participation, by using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or maybe even Flickr

Note that of those four websites, only one belongs to Yahoo – one of the main sponsors.

Surely a major dotcom company, upon committing some sponsorship money to a project, would want their websites or services to be promoted – perhaps Buzz or Pulse – alongside the rest of the web offerings?

Who on earth is Margaret Atwood?

Who on earth is Margaret Atwood?

Edit: Ahhh, the author behind The Handmaid’s Tale. Must read it one day.

I write like
Margaret Atwood

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Fighting a losing battle against copyright

Fighting a losing battle against copyright

Sarah Cameron not quite standing by her man, David Cameron

So… on the night when David Cameron finally became Prime Minister, HyperHam and I had the following conversation:

HH: “Why is Mrs Cameron standing at the back, pregnant and far away from her husband?”
AW: “Well, we’re living in Tory times now.”

To me, this was so amazingly funny and of-the-moment, that I immediately posted it on Twitter and Facebook. After all, what’s a joke if it’s not instantly shared to as many people as possible?

While a couple of friends graciously shared the joke with credit, another friend of mine reposted the joke without attributing it towards me. Indeed, when I pointed out that I wrote the joke, she deleted the comment, and then we had a slight disagreement before she decided to delete the joke to begin with. But she genuinely thought she was in the right to just copy a joke without any form of attribution.

Record companies and artists everywhere bemoan how we now live in an age where people copy works without even thinking of paying for it. But at least we all know a song by Lady GaGa is by Lady GaGa. How soon is it going to be before people can’t even be bothered to acknowledge that someone else wrote that song or book or joke?

One rule for the BBC, another for commercial broadcasters?

One rule for the BBC, another for commercial broadcasters?

You’d have thought that linking from a website to another website would be a basic principle in building websites. Even the BBC seems to agree – its’ latest Strategy Review states that “BBC Online will be transformed into a window on the web with, by 2012, an external link on every page and at least double the current rate of ‘click-throughs’ to external sites.”

Except OFCOM, the commerical broadcast regulator, has reprimanded GMTV for essentially linking to another website from its’ main website.

During a broadcast, viewers were invited to apply for free gym passes via GMTV’s website. Once they got there, they were told to click through to to pick up the gym passes. Ofcom said this is effectively promoting Lewis’s business and breaches rule 10.3 of the broadcasting code which states products and services must not be promoted in programmes.


No buzz with Buzz…

No buzz with Buzz…

So Google Buzz has launched, and I’ve had a quick play with it.

Unfortunately, it’s done the same thing as many recent Google product launches – it hasn’t brought anything new to the table, aside from the sheer gargantuan amount of data it stores about me. And the only reason it has so much data about me is because I’m pretty much wedded to Google, thanks to their still-superlative Gmail service (tabs instead of categories for email! It’s the future, I tell you!) and consequently, me adopting every other Google service there is, including their mobile phone system.

Which of course has its consequences. Within an hour of using Buzz, I found 10 people following me who were total strangers, who I’d never heard from before. This happens a lot more on Twitter (and to a certain extent on Facebook), but because those services don’t touch my email, it doesn’t seem so sinister. But with Buzz integrating with my email account, it does. There is a suggestion that these strangers found me via Google Profiles and that I ought to switch it off – but I’m quasi-reluctant to do that since otherwise, I could disappear off Google search results. (Then again, my name isn’t exactly my brand these days)

The huge flaw, of course, with integrating social networking so tightly with email, is that everyone’s email boxes are already groaning under the strain of spam, newsletters and the other ways people are trying to reach us via email. Adding another system to your email just adds to the risk of people declaring Inbox Surrender and leaving email alone entirely.

Ultimately, it’s hard to see why Google made another attempt into social networking, after the days of Orkut. They’ve built a new private members club opposite the most popular pub in town, spied upon everyone going into the pub to try and connect everyone, and then … just opened the front door – only letting in people who are members of the club. No special offers, no enticements, no new jukebox in the corner, nothing. There’s nothing in Buzz that isn’t already on other social networking sites – and of course, nothing that beats their main enemies, Facebook or Twitter. and ironically, they seem to be quite swamped – picking up blog posts and Twitter feeds from other areas of my digital life seems to take a day.

But like the famed Hotel California, once I’ve checked in, I can’t seem to leave…

G'on, ask me anything!

G'on, ask me anything!

In the art of experimenting with new websites and new forms of communication, a new website has sprung me which allows you, the humble web surfer, to ask me anything at all. And to do it anonymously, if you so wish.

Of course, there are many ways to do that, but with this website, any answers I choose to give are made public.

So give it a go, and ask me anything you want and tell me what you thought of the experience. Of course, I naturally reserve the right not to tell you incredibly sensitive private information, like my shoe size.

Interestingly so far, most people have asked their questions anonymously. Although I know who you are…

Useless websites #158

Useless websites #158

SendSocial promises to send anything to anyone, without needing an address. They suggest that you could use it to send gifts to Internet friends of yours, when all you know is their Twitter address.

How does SendSocial do this? By asking said Twitter person for their address, and then sending you a label to stick on your package. A courier then picks up said parcel, and delivers it to the mysterious Twitter person. And they charge £4 for a parcel weighing less than 2kg (which, to be fair, is slightly cheaper than what the Royal Mail charges).

It’s lucky that you can set up websites and company ideas for not much upfront cost, since it’s doomed to failure for the simple fact that if a person on Twitter didn’t want to reveal their address to a Twitter follower, they’re hardly like to entrust said address details to an anonymous company instead.

But hey, don’t take my word for it. Try it out. Send a random Santa present to my Twitter address 😉

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