Category Archives: friends

Moving on.

BedroomI got confirmation from my Landlord that my lease will not be renewed. So I have 60 days (until 18th May) to find somewhere else to live. It wasn’t altogether surprising – the local grapevine has been buzzing with tales of 20% rent increases where leases have been renewed, so even if they’d made an offer, it’s unlikely I’d have been able to afford it.

So time to move on. I don’t really know where I want to go. Partly, because I’d really like to stay here. The financial benefits of Dolphin Square are that heating, water and basic cable TV are included in the rent and because it’s Westminster, the council tax is very low (about £50 per month) so that makes it difficult to make direct comparisons – I’m clearly going to get a’spreadsheetin’. I’ve been very lucky to have such a great place with the view of the river. I’d love to stay in Pimlico or elsewhere in SW1 but perhaps I can’t afford it, if rents here are going squiffy, maybe it’s part of a bigger picture.

At the moment, I think the bottom line of my requirements are a one-bedroom unfurnished flat within zone 1 or 2 and trying to keep the rent under £250 per week. I honestly feel much more of a west end boy than an east-ender but maybe it’s time for me to do something different. Getting really different and moving right out of the South-East of England is not going to happen until my kids are that bit older.

So HALP! pls k.thxbye etc. – I’m not sure of the best way to start looking as I kind of walked into this place two years ago – if you know of anywhere that might suit or can suggest good agents/sites (other than gumtree and craigslist) to look at, you know how to get hold of me.

Christian Payne

For those who don’t know him already, I want to introduce you to Christian Payne, documentally, our man inside. I met Christian briefly at podcampuk, I logged him as a cheeky midland photo geek, nice guy, dry humour, keep an eye out for him etc. but then he popped up on seesmic.

I don’t think it’s an understatement to say that he is seesmic’s brightest star. I only feel comfortable calling him that because I see a lot of genuine humility in him and don’t think he’ll take it the worng way. Just in terms of numbers of posts Christian as out-seesmiced the best of them, but he also shines as an inventive, imaginative curious naughty funny experimenter with a great visual style.

I just love watching him and so does everyone else. I really hope he gets to reap some reward from all the effort he puts in. While seesmic is in development it’s still difficult to easily share what he does there, but watch him if you can, he’s bloody good.

This week, however, I had cause to write the following tweet: “@documentally slow down and do one thing at a time man, one thing at a time. don’t go all jimmy dean on us” but unfortunately the next thing we saw was this. I’m glad to say that Christian himself was largely unhurt, but the Land Rover he was driving is kaput. Now he’s written more about it and posted a video showing what he’s doing to get himself mobile again.

I’d urge you to nip over to Christian’s site, laugh at his video, wonder at his WIN, S.H.A.D.O. and SPECTRUM stickers and generously bung him some dosh towards a new mean machine.

Solo? Going?

Going SoloOne of the things twitter has taught me is how fragmented our social networks are. Not everybody who reads this blog knows everybody who reads this blog. So there will be some folk who don’t know Stephanie Booth in fact she teetered on the edge of my network mostly through the european KM folk until twitter made us all feel much closer.

When I last saw Steph, in Berlin at the girl geek dinner, she had a twinkle in her eye and shortly thereafter announced the reason to the world – Going Far is going to be her vehicle for running cool events and the first of these will be on May 16th in Lausanne – Going Solo a conference for people who work by themselves (and with others) on a freelance basis, covering how to run things in a business-like way, how to market, how to charge…etc.

The thing I like about this is that it’s another example of the demand side supplying itself – the speakers already announced are Suw Charman, Stowe Boyd, Martin Roell and Laura Fitton rather than some list of people you’ve never heard of organised by people with no idea of the industry and totally pwned by their sponsors.

There’s a few days left of early early bird discounts but even after that the fee’s under £200 for another month. Should be manageable from most parts of Europe. And unlike many such conferences, you’re likely to learn enough from it to make it pay for itself quite quickly. If you can’t currently recoup the cost of the day, travel and accommodation in a couple of days of consulting, then you *definitely* need to go and learn how to 🙂

Just to be clear – I’m not involved in the organisation of this in any way beyond friendly chats with Steph from time to time – but I have great faith in those involved that they will make it a really special day. I’ll be booking my place just as soon as those invoices get paid 🙂

Bonus: You can see Steph talking about it herself in the corridors at LIFT08 last week.

What to do with good ideas

SYTF I scribbled this on an index card one day, probably about a year ago and then let it slip out of my consciousness. It was a way of sharing and categorising your relationships with others in twitter based on who you follow, who follows you and the reciprocity between them.

The other day, @deekdeekster twittered about Twitter Karma which pretty much does what I was thinking of. I was more interested in people sharing elements of their own social graph to see interesting patterns in followers and followees – and to be able to move into foreign networks through intermediaries.

It reminded me of Share Your OPML and doubtless there are some nefarious consequences to this sort of sharing that I’m not able to foresee.

I share it to remind myself that I have lots of good ideas every day, but that the ones that really matter are the ones that I implement, write up or otherwise take further.

Another year

grumpyIt’s my birthday again – I’ve already had lots of lovely good wishes on twitter, facebook and seesmic. It really doesn’t seem like yesterday since the last one.

I’m very glad over the last year to have kept up with lots of my long-term bloggy (and less bloggy) friends but I’ve also added a huge number of new “nodes” particularly through twitter, seesmic and social media club and I’d like to mention a few here, in no particular order – many feel to me like I’ve known them forever (and of course I kind of have, those whose blogs I’ve followed but whom I only met and got to know this year).

Deek Deekster, Roo Reynolds, DK, Russell Davies, Charles Frith, Charlie Gower, Mark Earls, Katie Ledger, Mike Atherton (sizemore), Alex (ledretch), Fred2Baro, Warzabidul, Giselle Kennedy, Whit Scott, Johann Romefort, Christian Payne, Nic Butler, Adam Tinworth, Andy Roberts, Vero Pepperell, Ged Carroll, Chris & Kristie Heuer, David Terrar, Ronna Porter, Richard Sambrook, Tim Duckett, Tom Armitage, Grant McCracken, Janet Parkinson, Guy West, Gordon Joly, Chris Hambly, Emma Persky, Sam Ismail, Eaon Pritchard, Hylton Jolliffe, Rupert Howe, Richard Stacy, Thayer Driver, Nick Poyntz, Steve Clayton, Jamie Coomber, Amanda Gore – sure I’ve missed some but please don’t take it personally, just shout at me in the comments 🙂

I’m also amazed looking back over this blog at all the stuff that’s gone on – and this is just the stuff I’ve shared here! 😀

January – Leading my first Social Media Club meeting
February – The coining of “Social Media Tart”
March – Open Coffee started and I took a quick trip to Barcelona
April – New batch of Moos and a romper suit
May – My first time in Rome and Pants made out of potatoes
June – Interesting2007 ZOMG! and Adriana was poorly, but she got better – yay!
July – Started sharing 8 things
and met up with some old luvvies
August – jam packed – Social Media Café was conceived, musing about FB privacy, and the first game of Mornington Crescent on Twitter
September – I met a troll and had a holiday
October – Seesmic took over my life
November – Went to Berlin, prototyped the café/club and talked at barcamplondon3 about relationships
December – having spent most of the year in the application process, got my busking licence and got started

Wow! Thanks everybody for such a fab time! See you in a few days when the Christmas madness has abated.

Always adding nodes

Lloyd busking 001I love the ability that blogging gives me to connect with unexpected people anywhere in the world just as well as folk in the next postcode.

Ramon commented on my busking post and so I subscribed to his blog about his daily adventures crossing the border into Mexico to do his thing. It’s fantastic – here’s a snip:

“As I was arriving at the pedestrian area of Velarde St. I saw that the place where the Andean musicians where last time was taken by this gentleman selling a sort of dancing magical skeletons. He sells them by putting on a show with them. These things are made of plastic, about three inches tall and hang by a very thin, invisible almost, fishing wire and he sort of inadvertently makes them dance while speaking to the public. I kept on walking to my usual spot in the shoe store area. I was so focused on finding out if the PA system of the big shoe store was on that I didn’t noticed that the Andean musicians where already setting up right there. When I saw them I noticed one of the agents of commerce talking to them and telling them that they should get a permit, I think it’s because they have the whole kit, including CD’s and flutes to sell. I talked to them and found out thatthey are actually from Mexico City and not from the Andean region, they usually busk at Malls during this season.”

I had a giggle closer to home seeing Lars’s comment on flickr about my busking photos:

“Ah I get it now. I thought you were going to be king of a bus for a day” – you crazy literal Danish person, you.

Relationships, Online and Off-

fbfwSo here’s some of the thinking behind the Tuttle Club idea. I’ve talked mostly about what it should be, to help people understand, but there are actually some important things to say about *why*, which really help me see what is important to keep in and what things can go by the wayside.

Once upon a time all there was was offline – so much so that we didn’t think about it, we just walked over the street and talked to people. And they took our lunch money and told us to bugger off. Sometimes we built more positive relationships too. I think it’s odd that we have to remind ourselves that this was the case but we do, increasingly, especially as time goes by and more and more people come into the world who’ve never known anything different – you know, people who were *born* in the 80’s – weird.

Then we moved into a kind of binary place where you were either one or the other – from 9600 to 14.4k to 8MB broadband, for lots of people you’re still either online or offline and online means being sitting at a computer.

However increasingly it’s whatever (and wherever) works. The boundary is blurring and we can see a time when we’ll be always on, which means that on is as meaningless as off used to be, the distinction may disappear.

A quick reminder – what we’re talking about is ways of people connecting with each other. When I first got an internet connection pre web, there were three things pretty much that you’d want to do. Email, Usenet News and MUD (Multi-user Dungeon) – ways of finding things like gopher, veronica and archie were ways of finding people who’d created cool stuff as much as finding the cool stuff itself. I never was much of a gamer, so I was attracted to reading and writing and getting to know people through usenet and e-mail. Now Web 2.0 is supposedly doing something new, but it’s simply giving people more sophisticated ways of doing what we’ve always been doing on the net.

So I’m asking whether there’s any real difference between online relationships and those we do offline, whether you draw the distinction between based on where they started, or where most transactions currently take place. And the answer seems to me, to be no, there isn’t any significant difference, what is more important is that relationships can be enhanced by interaction online and off- and that these different types of interactions build a deeper, stronger sort of relationship than those that only happen in one “place”. I have more and more of these relationships, people who once I would only ever have read or read about, I see face to face and we get to know each other better and then our relationship online is even stronger.

My “friendship” group then (and put on one side the question of the definitions of “friend”) gets bigger and more diverse and so the question of the Dunbar’s number comes up – 150? WTF? I have more than 300 facebook friends and for every one of them, I can think of a little circle of others who aren’t there, or whom I’ve not yet linked to.

The Facebook friend wheel shines a bit of light on this. I can see the little communities, constituencies, compartments that hold people together in the way they are grouped around the wheel. This is how we’ve managed the transition between the pre-industrial world of only being able to meet at most a hundred or so people in your life to where we are now where potentially you can have some contact with hundreds of thousands. We compartmentalise. These are my friends in my team. These are people I go to the pub with. These are my “friends” in Accounts Payable. These are the people I know who are into ska. These are my golf friends. (This is the me-focused way of looking at the fact that I belong to multiple communities as JP’s talking about this morning). This reduces the cognitive load – if we’re only really comfortable with up to 150 people but we have to deal with more, then we can handle it by divide and conquer – we only have to deal with a smaller number at any one time. Before social software we all knew the potential stress of having members of more than one group meet up with each other (that’s one reason why weddings can break people). Before this point we could get away with being different people in different situations and to a certain extent be dishonest with some groups of people about who we are or who we want to be. What online social networks like Facebook do is make these communities or compartments explicit and then shares that with everybody. It therefore just got harder to keep those people apart – great opportunities for innovation in my social graph, but oh bugger, *they* are going to find out about *that*.

Now, this is just a prelude to the other thoughts that I’ve included in the presentations I’ve done at Web2Open and barcamplondon3 and the feedback I’ve had is that it’s really useful to see the background. As usual, I’ve done it the wrong way round, should really have written it out, then made a presentation then talked about it, but I really can’t be arsed to do things the way I should. I’m writing this at barcamp by the way, so that might just be a reaction to being in a place where the average person thinks that it’s *very important* to do things *the right way* gaaah!


Last night I twittered in German when I’d arrived:

Wilkommen in berlin. Sehr spät und glücklich mein schlafzimmer zu finden. Guten nacht twitternet :)

however when I got to Rezeption this morning, I really struggled explaining to the waitress what I wanted for breakfast (It didn’t help that I hadn’t decided).

and then this morning I listened at last to Stephanie Booth‘s babelfish presentation, which opened up lots of questions to me but reminded me of why all this multilingualism is complex. We think that we either know a language or we don’t, but as well as the continuous scale of fluency there is also the complicating dimensions of whether we it’s written or oral and whether we are transmitting or receiving. So my level of fluency in German (just one of the languages I pretend to know) varies depending on whether I’m reading, writing, listening or speaking – in fact it seems to me that *my* fluency is represented in that list in descending order, so I’m quite comfortable reading and making sense, but ask me to open my mouth and you get ummm errrr… silence mostly and a lot of hand waving.

Scaling Seesmic

Yesterday, I saw Loïc make a plea for people to come in & make video quickly to show to a journalist, Erika Brown, who he was talking to over breakfast.

So we piled in with gusto, naturally. This is not new. I’ve seen people ask for irc contributions, blog comments, blog posts using tags, tweets usually from the stage of a conference or a demo they’re doing somewhere, to show the network effect – that the net is alive and full of people and doing stuff all the time. I still think it’s cool.

Apparently later (according to Loïc’s daily summary) she was asking why we do this stuff – what’s in it for us. Good question. Don’t know the answer, but don’t think I’m not thinking about it. (BTW – I worry though that when someone outside the group asks “what’s in it for the people in this group?” they’re actually asking “and how can I exploit it in some way?” ie “What’s in this phenomenon for me?” but that’s a whole other lifetime’s blogging)

I have been thinking though about what happens when they try to scale seesmic up. Right now, there are two interfaces essentially – one is the public timeline with every post in it (though it can be filtered for friends and for my vids too) and the other is twitter which announces new videos if the user has provided her twitter details. I’m following this by tracking</a “seesmic” in twitter, so I see everyone regardless of whether I follow them in twitter or not (keep up!) *and* I see every other reference to the word “seesmic” too. Clearly I’m obsessed.

Now this is something we’ve seen before. What starts as a little trickle, becomes a steady stream, becomes a mighty torrent of unmanageable information. started out like this but was in stream/minor tributary mode when I first saw it. Ah me, I used to love to sit at late in 2004, CTRL+F5’ing to see what was new. When I joined twitter about a year ago I had about 10 friends and some of them were in way different time zones – minutes would go by without an update – now I have it running in my im window and it’s like a constant ticker tape – in fact it’s now going too fast.

Seesmic will (probably) follow the same pattern in terms of the increase in the number and rate of contributions. What I’m interested in, is what happens when seesmic becomes like today. Now at the beginning, although there were some podcast directories, was the best place to go because you could see everything and everything was worth at least a glance at the title. So what happens when the public timeline is whizzing past as fast as What about when my friends list whizzes as fast as twitter. Well, I’ll miss stuff, that’s for sure, I’m missing stuff on twitter and in my feed reader right now because I’m writing, but the other problem is that while twitter can be scanned, if I want to find out what a seesmers just said, I have to click and open a video. The only way I can see is RSS (with enclosures, I think too – gulp!). This is why I’ve made a feature request for (at least) my feed, a feed of my friends and a public timeline feed. I also want to see feeds for particular tags. We can’t see this metadata at the moment, but I’m filling it in (are you?). And then I want a big tag cloud so that I can follow the zeitgeist of seesmic and dip into a feed based on tags. So I’m expecting that I will then subscribe to certain feeds and go to seesmic from time to time to dip into stuff that I’m not subscribed to. Oy! I think I might like to keep seesmic down to a manageable little community of 150 diverse international shiny new toy freaks 🙂

Now, this brings us back to Erika’s question: “What’s in it for us?” Why do I do this? Why am I obsessed with shiny new toys like this? Because I like being part of this little group – just like podcasting was 3 years ago. And I want everyone to have the chance to have this experience. Why do I choose some and not others. Well a big differentiating factor is in the previous paragraph – I’ll repeat it – I made a feature request and I’m sure it will be considered and may get somewhere if it’s thought a good idea by the community. Why am I sure? Because I made the feature request that we should have voting on feature request, and it was implemented. So now we’re voting on what things we’d like to see. That’s what’s in it for me, a small bit of satisfaction that an idea I had sitting at a screen in London could ping around the world and get created before my very eyes *and* I believe that I’m not special, if it can happen to me, it can happen for everyone, if they want it.

No screenshot to go with this, can’t be arsed to edit – is there a skitch clone for Windows?