End User internet social networking

#140conf London – a melting pot for realtime communications

Today I’m with Jeff Pulver at his #140 conference at the O2 Indigo. Jeff originally (not that long ago actually so to use the word originally seems a little strange) started the #140conferences in February as a vehicle to capitalise on the Twitter revolution.

Very quickly the theme of the conference has moved on to real time communications, rather than Twitter specifically although Twitter is still mentioned in every other sentence by every speaker.

Sitting here listening to the talks what strikes me is the complete diversity of people appearing on the stage – ranging from international media stars (ie Stephen Fry) the Chief Marketing Officer of Kodak, a farmer, an off license owner, a teacher, and a policeman to name but a few. Big business is here and so is small business

I’m not going to dwell on specific talks, although Stephen Fry interestingly uses the example of the invention of the printing press to compare with what is happening now on the internet with Twitter. I’m sure he pinched it from me because that is what I use for my new starter induction talk at Timico 🙂

Notably Kodak also ran a competition to name a new camera on Twitter. It was a  fast way of running a focus group with a huge number of people.

The biggest take away for me so far is the use of the word “authenticity”.  There is so much rubbish out there on the internet (Twitter, Facebook, blogland, everywhere) that you have to really have something to say to make an impact. Just rehashing other people’s stuff isn’t good enough, although I am always grateful for “retweets”. 

Being ruthless I have on occasion “defriended” people who indulge in uninteresting status updates.  I’m sure people have done the same with me – you have to be able to take the rough with the smooth.

End User social networking

Virtually there is no escape- parenting via Facebook

I just put one of my kids to bed via Facebook.  He had already been sent up to his room but I could see that he was still online  – almost certainly using the wifi connection on his iPod touch.

The IM conversation went like this:

Tref          oy

Tref          bed!

Joe           ok

Tref         goodnight

Joe          is offline

I know that the cynical amongst you will decry this as poor parenting but pshaw I say. It is modern life – location independent fatherhood.  There is still, however, no replacement for a real cuddle which is dispensed regardless of the age and sensitivities of the offspring.

Apps End User internet social networking

Google wave first thoughts – Grassroots Digitalbritain and the digitally excluded

Had a day or two to play with the wave.  Some of my Facebook friends have already commented that it is no good without others to communicate with.  At this time I have two friends in my wave contacts list :Luc from Google who invited me and Cyberdoyle.

This fits into the category of sad git with no friends.  However Cyberdoyle, who is the most advanced farmer’s wife (for I believe such is she) in the world when it comes to the internet, is showing me the way.  Cyberdoyle is hugely knowledgeable when it comes to Rural Broadband (or lack of) and the Digital Divide.  Martha Lane Fox should recruit her.

Cyberdoyle, ok Chris, started a wave and showed me the way.  Pic below:

Grassroots Digitalbritain wave
Grassroots Digitalbritain wave

There are currently 14 people catching the wave, none of who I know other than Chris. The resolution of the jpeg doesn’t do it justice. However what you are seeing is a multimedia collaboration work in action. This could be a cross departmental business tool, a group of friends planning a party or something online usable by any community anywhere (except where you can’t get broadband!)

This is impressive and I’ll keep you posted on progress with the Grassroots Digitalbritain wave which you might or might not have gleaned is all about a community of people trying to get the internet into their lives.  I get this image of an inner city council estate where the residents are trying to make life better by raising money for a community centre. There is no difference between them and rural communities wanting to access the internet.

Anyway Google Wave – so far so good. Thanks Luc for inviting me and who needs lots of friends when you have Cyberdoyle.

Business social networking

#140conf London discount offer

Anyone interested in going to this conf (see previous post) can get a discount via this link.

End User internet social networking

Google Wave invite has arrived

Can’t say I’m not excited!

More when I do have something to say:-)

Business social networking

#140conf London

Just got my ticket to Jeff Pulver’s #140 Characters Conference in London on 17th November.  This was a difficult one because it clashes with LINX67 which is the 15th anniversary meeting of the London Internet Exchange.

The #140 Character Conference has evolved very quickly from being a “twitter” event to what in my mind represents groundbreaking thought leadership in the area of real time internet communications. Having known Jeff for over 10 years I think this is a not to be missed event. Jeff tells me that London is the world capital for thought leadership in this space.

There is an interesting mix of  high profile speakers including Jeffrey Hayzlett (@JeffreyHayzlett) CMO of Kodak, Babs Rangaiah (@babs26) – Vice President, Global Comms Planning, Unilever and Stephen Fry (@stephenfry), celebrity actor and writer.

Check out the website here.


Business social networking

#eComm Amsterdam

I am somewhat envious of my friends who made it to eComm in Amsterdam. It looks like a marvelous networking event and akin to the early days of the VON conferences.

VON was, before VoIP became mainstream, a great place to network with people involved in emerging technology. eComm looks to have taken over its mantle.  You can check out the website here and catch up with the Twitter stream at #eComm.

In fact I think I’ll stick one in the blog.

End User social networking

Ryan Seacrest unfollow

I’m doing a bit of tidying up on twitter. In the early days of twitter I thought it would be a good idea to follow as many people as possible. What a mistake that was! I now get so much rubbish that it makes twitter unusable as a browsing machine.

So now I’m sat on tweetdeck “unfollowing” people with whom I feel I have nothing in common. It’s amazing who I find I am following. I’ve just deleted someone called Ryan Seacrest who has 2,411,465 followers despite only following 124 people himself. I obviously live sheltered life because I have never heard of him! 2,411,464 people clearly have!

Business social networking

Digital Britain feed on

The Digital Britain feed from twitter is yielding some very interesting information. For example people are tweeting about their submissions for the  funding that is available from the Technology Strategy Board.

It is worth watching the feed for a minute or two to get a feel for what is going on in the Digital Britain initiative. If you hover your cursor over the feed it will stop scrolling and thus lets you control the speed.

End User social networking

twitter follower

When I started to use twitter a little more earnestly I took a look at some other twitterers and determined that there was a pattern in getting lots of followers.  These Tweeters (if that is the right word) were also following lots of people.

So I did the same.  I randomly started to follow people and found that half of them then began to follow me. Of course the downside to this is I get a lot of traffic in my “in tray” with comments from people who I really have no interest in. So much so that it is hardly worth looking at the feed.

I now periodically unfollow people who, after looking their profile, I feel I have nothing in common with. I’m trying to narrow it down to a useful set of “follows”. My criteria are I keep a friend if they are in the UK and look “normal”, in my business space or do seem to have something interesting to say.  There are a lot of people out there spouting rubbish and a lot of “services” that are no use to me – local news alerts in other parts of the world for example.

Spending a little time “unfollowing”  in the early hours this morning I am astounded to come across some accounts that have huge followers.  One, @DigitalRoyalty, had more than a million! Drilling into her profile I found that she was an online PR specialist. Clearly good at her job.

This is a new world. I feel a little like Captain James Cook setting out on his first voyage of exploration.

Business events internet social networking

#140 characters conference London

I’ve just left a networking event organised by my friend Jeff Pulver to promote his forthcoming #140 characters conference (#140conf )in London.  Scheduled for November 17th/18th the event will take place at the O2 Arena.

This will be the third such do organised by Jeff after the first in New York earlier this year and the forthcoming one in Los Angeles.  What astonished me was that there were more people from London at the New York event than from New York itself and London is considered to be the twitter capital of the world.  Hence the London conference.  LA was second in terms of origin of attendees.  I even met someone from London at the bash who had spoken at the NY event – Kate Arkless Gray or @RadioKate.

The number of attendees at tonight’s event was also impressive.  When I signed up for it two days ago there were 70 or so people registered.  Jeff was expecting a total of 90 but in actual fact he ended up with 190!  There is clearly something happening here. Didn’t realise that Jeff is also an investor in twitter.

Anyway I’ve signed up as part of the cast of characters for the #140 character conference.  In my mind it is definately worth taking a look at attending.  If you don’t know what it is all about just google it or visit

Engineer internet social networking

Twitter downed by ddos attack

I have to apologise to Dave Ward who manages the firewall at Timico HQ in Newark.  I complained to him that he was blocking me from accessing Twitter and he scurried off to check having denied it all. (it’s not a criminal offence in my book anyway).

I just read that Twitter was this afternoon hit by a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack which took out the service for a few hours from around 2pm.  Sorry Dave.  Whenever I publish a blog post Wordpress automatically sends a tweet on the subject which in turn updates my Facebook status. What would we do without Twitter eh?

Business social networking

Last post for a week but twitter updates will keep coming

I’m off on rugby tour to South Africa tomorrow so no blog posts until Thursday 2nd April at the very earliest. Not only would I not trust myself with a laptop on tour but I won’t actually have much time to write as we have a very busy schedule.

That isn’t to say though that the blog will be inactive.  On in the sidebar to the right of this post you will see a stream of tweets that will keep people posted re my progress.  Provided there is mobile phone coverage, and I can’t always be sure of that out in the wild, I will keep the updates coming including how I get on in the two matches we are playing.

You might also, if you are going to be watching the Lions v South Africa second test at Loftus Veersfeld on Saturday, keep your eyes open for me in the crowd.  Thanks to all those who have wished me well on this trip and I look forward to telling you all about it in person at some stage this summer.

I’ll post some pics on Facebook when I get back.

Business internet social networking

Speeches 2 b reduced 2 140 chars at nxt election

We all have to suffer over exposure to politics during the run up to an election. It is going to get worse!  The next UK General Election will be played out in minute detail and in glorious Web2.0 technicolour using Twitter.

In fact there is now a website dedicated to furthering this cause. is a wonderful resource for those actually interested in politics. The site concentrates the tweets of MPs, sorts by party, constituency and by subject matter and even has a tweetometer that indicates who is ahead in the tweeting game on any particular issue.

You will be an expert on MPs views like never before and the resource makes it easy to engage an MP in debate on a specific topic.

One wonders how we will cope with the sheer volume of information that will be coming at us, other than by switching off of course.  There is definately something advantageous to be said here about the British election system when compared with that of the USA.  At least we will only be getting a few short weeks of it rather than the protracted years they take across the pond. 

I can see another spike in internet bandwidth usage coming..!

If anyone is interested I did a search for the topic “expenses” on tweetminster and came up with 161 references 🙂

c u l8r

End User social networking

twitter in action in Lincolnshire with possible prison riot

Last night I felt I was part of a real life drama.  I live over the fields from Lincoln prison.  In Lincoln they put the prison in the best part of town to make it quicker to lock up the burglars when they catch them 🙂

As I was hitting the hay I could hear a lot of loud noises coming from the direction of the prison together with dogs barking.  I sent out a tweet to this effect and was immediately contacted by a couple of BBC journalists asking for more info.  There have been other prison riots in the UK this week so the tweet was topical.

Independent verifiaction suggested that there was no activity outside the gaol.  After about 10 – 15 minutes I checked again and it grown quiet again.  Presumably the noisy prisoners had been locked back up again.

I guess the point of this post is the observation that twitter is really a newsfeed rather than a social networking tool. You also have to be watching it all the time to catch randomly generated news, as my two BBC contacts must have been. 

It is also usable as a marketing tool and interestingly as such it offers a highly targeted approach.  Twitter users have to be searching for specific news items.  I follow too many people to be able to sensibly catch all their tweets so I would have to be looking for, say, “Lincoln prison riot” to read any news about this. 

The same the applies for product marketing.  If I wanted to push Timico’s MPLS capability on twitter the chances are that people reading that tweet would be specifically looking for information on MPLS.

End User internet social networking

Grand National hot tip #GrandNational

This is another Twitter experiment.  If anyone really wants to know I have an each way bet on Cloudy Lane and Irish Invader.

Footnote Monday morning:

I wanted to see if the post title would attract many visits via twitter.  It didn’t especially, even though I used the two most popular twitter search strings at the time in the title.

internet social networking

Twitter experiment

Twitter has been in the news a lot recently.  It’s been around for 3 years and I started using it a year ago to experiment and to understand what it was all about. 

One year ago it wasn’t really clear where it was all going but I could feel that there would be some uses.  In the meantime celebrities have latched onto it and it has been a way of following news as it happened.  Also my experience with “attending” the SocComm conference via twitter was an education.

I began to get followers who I had never heard of and when looking at their own profiles they had many thousands of followers and were in turn following thousands.  It looked then as if people follow people who follow them.

I began an experiment by randomly following others who were either following or being followed by people that were following me, if you follow my drift.  I got these results:


There is obviously an increase in followers in line with those being followed.  This not massively scientific but interesting nonetheless. There is a scenario whereby if I spend enough time at it 25% of everyone on twitter would be following me.  Of course I’m not going to waste my time doing it and I’m sure the dynamics change with volume. 

Something that has come out of this excercise is a slight increase in visits to due to traffic from twitter.  So if I was focussed on nothing but growth in my readership, which I’m not because I also have a day job,  amassing huge numbers of twitter followers would probably be a good  thing to do.

Also it gets to the point where there is so much twitter traffic it gets difficult to see the wood from the trees.  It then becomes a kind of ticker tape where you randomly glance ast tweets.  Twitter has I’m sure got a lot of evolving to do.

End User social networking

test for twitter

Just added a plug in to wordpress that automatically posts blog entries as a tweet.  Marvellous.

Business internet social networking

140 Characters Conference – pulver on twitter

I spent some of this morning with our marketing team discussing our twitter marketing strategy.  This is a very new field and it is interesting to see how people go about getting exposure on the site.

For example I get people I’ve never heard of signing up as followers.  This prompts me to take a look at their profile and as often as not I sign up to follow them.  Voila – their marketing approach worked. I was amazed to see people with 20,000+ followers – who were following similar numbers.

Jeff Pulver, who has appeared before on this blog has launched a call for speakers for a new conference called the 140 Character Conference (if you don’t understand where the name comes from I’ll explain offline 🙂 ).

This is perfect timing in my book.  I could have done with it before our marketing meeting this morning because we were learning it and making it up as we went along – “it”  being the science of twitter based marketing. 

The conference is in New York New York so it is unlikely that I will be going.  I will however be following it on line, on twitter of course which I successfully did for Jeff’s SocComm conference last month.  Jeff is going after 140,000 online followers for the event. 

You can see the conference call for papers announcement here on facebook or sign up for a place here.

End User social networking

Friday the 13th February 2009 – an unique time in history

Unix Time reaches a milestone in history next week as it hits 1,234,567,890. For those millions of readers of this blog who don’t know what I am talking about (ie most of them I’m sure) Unix Time started at midnight on January 1st 1970 and represents the number of seconds since then.

Unix Time is a way of storing time information on a computer. It isn’t without its issues. For example back in 1970 the boffins chose 32bits as a size of number to represent Unix time in machine code. Unfortunately this means that Unix Time hits the ceiling, ie runs out, in 2038.

This could well lead to another bout of hysteria akin to Y2K with many Unix computers expected to run into problems.

Anyway the point of this blog post is not to worry you too much about what will happen 29 years hence but to celebrate the number. Party animals can join in the fun at the Event on Facebook . Pseudo geeks amongst us can read more here.  Real geeks will already know all they need to know. 

I was originally going to post this on Friday 13th but I figured some of you would want to know in advance.

Business social networking


Technorati Profile

Business social networking

Breakfast With Jeff Pulver In London

Next week I will be attending a Social Networking Breakfast organised by Jeff Pulver in London. For those of you that don’t know him Jeff was one of the pioneers of VoIP and ran the Voice On The Net conferences (VON).  VoIP is mainstream these days and Jeff has shifted his focus to Social Networking. 

Being a user of sites such as Facebook and Twitter I am a strong believer that the structures underlying what might be called the whole “social networking phenomenom” will server the business world well.  This is why I am attending the breakfast. I want to understand how best to use these tools to further my business interests.

This is despite the “not for business use” stance of Facebook. The interesting thing for me is that you can use Facebook to build relationships and get a message across without having to sell. In fact one of the things I like about Facebook is that I don’t feel I am being sold to. I don’t mind the notionally well targeted ads (I keep getting pitched singles dating agency ads though which as far as I know is not good targeting 🙂 ).

I am quite happy to mix personal friends, customers, suppliers and business colleagues as friends on Facebook. After all people do business with people.

As for next week this is an open event. It is being held at the Institute Of Contemporary Arts, 12 Carlton Terrace, London between 9am and 12 midday. Jeff would I’m sure appreciate advance notice of attendance and you can register your interest at this Facebook Event Notification.

For those of you who can’t go don’t worry. I’ll report back although it won’t be the same as being there.

PS I first met Jeff at one of his VoIP industry Executive Summits at Cannes in theSouth of France.  It must have been around 1998/99 and was my first foray into VoIP for my then employer. I recall sitting down for three days just writing page after page of acronyms for decoding later. I don’t anticipate the same problem next week.

Jeff Pulver
Jeff Pulver