trib’s big TED Adventure

I’m attending TED@PalmSprings for the next few days. I believe it will be quite the adventure – inspiring, exciting, mind-blowing. I’ve already had the privilege of running into a few interesting people, purely by chance and the power of Twitter.

Having Dinner with Chel, Bristol, Matt and Andy was a great deal of serendipitous fun.

I’ll be doing some blogging here about TED and the experience. I’ve already begun accumulating something of a record of my activity. You can read my TED tweets here (everyone’s here) and see my photos from the event (not just the conference) here.

A lot to live up to

It’s both humbling and a little terrifying that I’ve been ranked so highly in the Australian Marketing Pioneer Blogs list. The company I’m in is a group I highly respect and being included both makes me feel I have a lot of expectation to live up to and that I need to try harder.

In particular, coming in at #4 after not being there prior is no small achievement to maintain.

Thank you, Julian, for putting the effort in to compile the list.

Zemanta for your blog

Image representing Zemanta as depicted in Crun...

Today, I’ve been playing with Zemanta on some of my old posts here at acidlabs. It’s an interesting beast that modifies the editing interface in your blogging tools (it works with huge range of the popular blogging, community and content management platforms) to provide real-time contextual images, links and tag suggestions. You can add it to your toolkit via one of several server-side plugins or as a client-side plugin in Firefox, IE or Live Writer.

I haven’t got it fully figured out yet, but it does seem promising.

Hat tip to Roebot for pointing me at Zemanta.

What inspires me to blog (and a short rant)

Laurel’s pressured me and now Lee has too! What is it with you people?

There are a number of triggers, I guess, that will get me to make those particular mouse clicks and keyboard strokes. I’ve never really thought about them clearly before now. Like Laurel and Lee, I’m pretty much on a theme here. There are occasions I drift off topic, or am tempted to put something more personal in a post, but they are very much that – occasional.

So what are my motivators? Let’s see:

  • business value for problem solving using social tools as a supporting technology – it’s about the problems, culture and practices, the tools simply make it easier
  • how business can get social tool use right, both inside the wall and across it – openness, honesty, humanity, fairness, values, equality
  • the flip side of the last point, how not to use social tools in your business – sock-puppeting, dishonesty and the like
  • social web strategy for business – folding the culture, practice and tools into your corporate DNA
  • products I use and enjoy using for some reason (not necessarily online) – if I like it, maybe you will too, and I want you to know
  • things I’ve read that I think others should – interesting, exciting, groundbreaking, stimulating

Scarily enough, like my friends (and competitors, so back off you pair!) Laurel and Lee, I’ve got to do this in such a way that it generates leads for business for me where it can. I can’t be giving away all my IP.

And now, the tangential bit… public speaking – which is akin to being with me as I blog. With pictures. And sometimes video.

Again, like Lee and Laurel, this blog generates a lot of speaking opportunities – and like Lee, I’ve about reached the end of where I’m prepared to speak gratis.

I am flattered that you think I’d add value to your event, but I have an established brand and reputation to which I attach some value. Yes, I’ll meet some new people at your thing, but I rarely generate work (have I ever?) from conferences. So, “it’s good for your business, think of the networking opportunities”. Not so much.

There are a few events I will always consider doing just for expense coverage, the organisers know who they are.

However, if you’re charging your attendees more than $1500 to attend, I think you should probably send some of that my way for the time it takes me to prepare and the work I couldn’t do in the meantime. I have even engaged a very highly regarded speakers’ bureau (thank you Mr Pesce) to help me out. If you ask me to speak and you’re running a commercial event, I’ll probably send you their way.

Here’s the math. Not including the days of distracting brainstorming I go through, a half-hour talk takes me two days to prepare. Minimum. And it scales somewhat more than linearly from there. Plus there’s rehearsal time. I need to do my talks half a dozen times at least in rehearsal before I can give you a good performance.

That’s got to be worth something, no?

The Hamster Wheel

It seems the pointless hamster wheel of journalists vs. bloggers is spinning up again along with the Large Hadron Collider. This one though, is more likely to produce a black hole than the LHC as the two camps disappear up their own collective orifices. Why, oh why, I ask, do the “professional journalists” in their ivory towers (and no few bloggers down in the muck) persist with the false dichotomy that they are on opposing sides?

This time, it’s (very) old school journalist and former editor of the Australian, Mark Day, laying his polished Oxford into the baggy-jean wearing backside of the bloggers.

Mark, why? Journalism as we have known it is an endangered species. You need your friends where you can find them.

I felt compelled to comment on Mark’s piece, which in a bit of delicious irony, is actually on his blog at The Australian. I don’t know whether he’ll publish it, the Australian tends to be very slow at approving comments. As such, I’m reproducing it here in the interests of history.

Mark, as a blogger and one-time journalist, I agree with you that many people who comment on blogs are asinine or disrespectful. I hazard they are the same fringe who in the past wouldn’t have been published in letters to the editor.

George Megalogenis is entirely within his rights to establish rules of engagement for his blog, as is any blog author out there. The establishment of such rules are something I strongly advise my clients to do when, as a part of the communications strategies I help them develop, they venture into blogging as a communications medium.

It appears you make the assumption that the writing done in the name of journalism as a profession is somehow better or more accurate than that done in blogging form. Or that bloggers don’t have access to the sources and information that journalists do. I strongly disagree. There is richness in both forms, as equally, there is pap. There are also bloggers with significant access to sources close to power and important information – that which would “[create] news”, as you say.

The issues repeatedly trotted out that seek to belittle bloggers of all stripes as some lesser being to journalists are specious at best. The world needs both and to continue to perpetuate the false dichotomy that one is better than the other is ridiculous. The relationship between professional journalists and bloggers, in today’s largely online world is symbiotic. They need each other.

In a world where the heritage organisations who to now have been the purveyors of news are removing journalists from roles, the journalists and the bloggers need to work together to empower themselves. To reinvent the media in a new form where the Fairfaxes and News Limiteds of this world see their already shrinking relevance reduced to irrelevance. This is not fantasy or pie in the sky, it’s reality.

I don’t know about you, but think it’s about time this ridiculous false argument was silenced once and for all. We could then just get on with the job of writing good stuff and finding the news, no matter where it is and no matter who’s breaking it.

The Aussie Bloggers Forum


Blogging is hard work. We all know that. And not all of us have a job that lets us blog as a part of our work (even me, sometimes). To blog successfully (for a broad definition of success) you need to read and comment on other blogs, keep up with happenings in the space your blog covers and ideally, have some regular visitors to keep the traffic flowing

There are now lots of great Australian blogs covering a wealth of topics. And better yet, there’s now a place for bloggers of all levels of experience to go to discuss their issues.

A small group of Australian bloggers – Snoskred, Andrew Boyd and Meg Tsiamis – have set up Aussie Bloggers with the aim of “empowering, encouraging, supporting and promoting Aussie Bloggers and the Australian blogosphere in general”. There is also a group of moderators, including me, who come with years of practical blogging and online experience. The team is:

I’m excited to be involved with Aussie Bloggers and hope it grows into a valuable resource for the Australian blogging community.

You can register for the forum if you’d like to be involved or ask a question.

Image: Uluru by jukerr. Some rights reserved.

How I Find Blogging Ideas

Like a lot of bloggers I know, my head is full of ideas that I never get around to committing to words. There are a number of reasons for this – work-life balance, client requirements, yada yada. Frankly though, it’s not actually that hard to blog pretty regularly. Not every post needs to be a cornerstone.

I draw inspiration from the world around me – online and offline. I try to add depth to conversations my colleagues and peers are having, I try to generate original content and sometimes, something totally lightweight takes my fancy. If you poke around this blog, you’ll see that evidenced in spades.

Back in mid-September, social media expert Chris Brogan published a post entitled 100 Blog Topics I Hope YOU Write. I foolishly Twittered back at him that he had given me a bunch of inspiration and that I was going to tackle his list. Chris laid the challenge back, noting he wanted to read what I had to say.

So, now that I’m back from my USA holiday and fully back into the swing of work, I guess it’s time to put my reputation on the line and tackle Chris’ list. This post is the first, matching #9 on the list. Over the next few weeks, I plan to tackle several of Chris’ ideas, along with a bunch of my own. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy my efforts.

Dancing with Yourself

The title is a slight twist on a Billy Idol song title… But, what I’m talking about here is the struggle for new bloggers to keep up the momentum when starting out.

Now, I don’t generally talk about blogging directly here, but when I saw ProBlogger Darren Rowse’s post When it Feels Like Nobody is Reading Your Blog this morning it resonated strongly with me, as I’d had this very conversation with my wife, Alli, last night with respect to her blog, ShiftedHR. She’s one of just a handful of HR bloggers in Australia and tackles a number of strategic issues from a management and best practice perspective – while messing with the status quo and sacred cows a little. It’s all very good writing – I would think so even if she wasn’t married to me.

Alli has been blogging a few weeks now, has picked up a small (<10) group of readers by RSS and has 3-5 hits a day on most days for her blog. She's feeling a little unloved and is considering pulling the plug. My advice was to work on, and get involved by commenting on HR blogs elsewhere. Her response was that she's too busy to be commenting, what with being a Mum, wife, successful manager, part-time college student and everything else that's going on in her head. I empathise, she is very busy, even in our house where the load is fairly well shared (I don't claim domestic perfection, but I do okay). I really do want her to keep blogging, as it provides her a good outlet for her thoughts and a way to distribute the tacit knowledge she's got in her head. If you're facing the same hurdle over passion to continue your blog, I recommend Darren's post. Oh, and just for fun, here's a link to a video of Billy Idol singing Dancing With Myself.

I’m disappointed in Marc Andreessen

As someone who lauded Marc Andreessen’s decision to start blogging, I’ve got to follow up his decision to block comments with an expression of my disappointment. Marc, your decision sucks.

You didn’t think that someone as high profile as you wasn’t going to get a lot of traffic and a lot of comments?

Even if some of it is execrable pap, as a blogger you have a responsibility to let it through and to keep comments enabled – so long as they’re not not defamatory or plain offensive. Have a comment policy, for heaven’s sake! Only allow registered or previously approved commenters to get through without being filtered by you (which is my approach).

Marc, you need to grow some cojones on this issue and turn it all back on. If you want to blog, take responsibility for everything that comes with it.