Monday, 2 March 2009

Website or web presence?

The more I see how web2.0 and social media is developing and being used, the more I am convincing myself that it is no longer necessary to have a "website" in the traditional sense.

Granted an e-commerce based business does still need a site that is optimized for SEO etc. But do smaller businesses really need to be search engine optimized?

The rise of twitter has been astounding as has the development by twitterers themselves of a huge variety of functions to widen it's use. Will we reach a point, or have we already(?) where twits start being written with SEO in mind?

Trying to start this debate online has not proved to be the most pleasant of experiences so far, on one site there was an almost instant tirade of abuse, which concentrated on defence of how one must have your own 'owned' website to be credible, one example of such a post being:

"Things like Twitter only work if you're already well known enough for a sufficiently large group of people to WANT to 'follow you' ANYWAY.

So it works for Obama and Branson and Stephen Fry and Chris Moyles. Unfortunately, no-one gives a **** whether I live or die, but that doesn't stop me having to go out and find work each day. If I paid people to listen to my twitterings they'd give the money back (twice over probably) because they actually want to get on with some work. (Something the nerds who invent these things fail to realise) My website is just a showcase. It will never generate me any business but may be useful to people who have heard of me or had me referred to them. That information could, of course, be hosted anywhere, but I and, I believe, the surfing 'business-public' will have a little more faith in the fact that I own my own web home rather than just lodge on someone else's. Sitting commercial content on a blog is no better than the 'mom and pop' sites which used to exist on homestead and angelfire."

The conversation I am still wanting to have is whether we will see a shift beginning where the 'traditional website' (definition?!) is no more. With a blog, an open source wiki and a forum all attached to my buisness url address, why would I need an owned 'website?'

Can I effectively create a credible 'web presence' with the tools above?

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Brilliant I and other conversations

"Sharing our brilliance to unlock the brilliance of others- Discuss," said Ray Shaw, chief facilitator and agitator to one of the groups at last nights
Gurteen Knowledge Cafe.

I recognised the concept of this immediately, having been fortunate to meet, work for, with or alongside some truly brilliant, inspiring, empowering, uplifting people during my life and career. Some people with this magical brilliance are instantly recognisable, they captivate, engage, motivate, facilitate, inspire and nurture people around them. Their brilliance shines through and captivates, draws people in, sows the seeds for creativity.

How? What is the special ingredient? What makes their brilliance shine through?

Their ability to tell a great story. To lead conversation along a path that is rich in content, depth and debate. But conversation cannot be a one way process? Conversation requires active listening and participation, brilliant people do not preach, they do not focus on their own brilliance, they unlock the brilliance of others through their skills but also their humanity, recognition that every person has brilliance, but not every person has necessarily had the opportunity to convey this brilliance nor perhaps had their brilliance recognised and for want of a better word, confirmed.

  • So are we all brilliant?
  • Do we all have brilliance?
  • How do we say we are brilliant?
  • Are we allowed to say we are brilliant?
If the circumstances are right, then yes. If the context is right then yes. If the message is genuine and contributes to a conversation then yes.

Is brilliance always positive? Well no, some people are brilliant at being destructive, at using their skills to be subversive, belittle, block, dominate deconstruct or destroy. They may be brilliant storytellers, they may be brilliant speakers, but when it comes to conversation, their Ego dominates all and doesn't allow for opinion, debate or conversation.

The group debate I actually chose to join looked at
whether it is possible to have depth and quality of conversation on the web?

Sure you can using VOIP, seeing the person, being able to converse with a person visually adds depth and meaning to the words and content. On reflection, the key element face to face communication allows is spontaneity and flow.

How often do the truly memorable conversations we have head off at several tangents and conclude having been on a journey that has lead to a place we didn't expect to visit?

I'm not sure the vast majority of web2.0 applications facilitate these facets. The 140 character limit of twitter may be great for copywriters and those skilled in media and advertising, but how are other twitterers able to discover if the person is truly brilliant, or just out to self promote for their own gain?

Something struck me last night as truly odd. The term "followers" as used by twitter. I have 190 "followers". What does that mean? I can't help but think of Monty Python

I am not the messiah; I am not Brian, so would you all just please leave me alone.....

Facebook, Myspace, Bebo et al are great for finding people, keeping in touch, sharing photos, but conversations that inspire and lead to greater things? I think not.

Wikis? Maybe, the beauty of wikis to me is that the background & creation of an idea, a project, an aim is clearly there to see. You can see the context, follow how it grows, people can actively contribute and comment.

Is it possible to convey your brilliance on the web in the same way you can in person?

I don't know.

I kind of wish this particular post was on a wiki, I want to explore this with as many people as possible but how?

Your brilliant comments and debate would be appreciated :-)

(smiley emoticon to convey my warmth and genuiness)

Sunday, 11 January 2009


Funzi Island, Kenya
People living in the Kenyan villages of Funzi and Bodo often live without the basics of life like safe running water and electricity. Others have missed out on the opportunity to be educated or to have a job. This makes it hard for them to feed and support their families who often suffer poor health as a result of these conditions.Standards of accommodation can be very bad. Some villagers rely on Red Cross parcels to survive and have few clothes or possessions. When disability or serious illness intrudes they can’t pay for treatment or the facilities don’t exist.The Funzi and Bodo Trust (FAB) exist to try and change things for the better. Working with local people we are creating the conditions for a better environment where people can reach their true potential and where at least the basics of life are available affording a decent quality of life for all.

Let's Respect

Let's Respect the Mental Health Needs of Older People

The presentation lasts 6.30minutes

For more info go to

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Are we there yet?

Flying into 2009 with maximum motivation, determination and hope, yesterday was an unusual first day back in the working world. I normally endure a few days of post holiday blues, followed by a lack focus before the cogs start whirring at full speed once more. However, from the off, once the inbox was clear and I started to link in once more with the virtual networks available online I felt a real sense of direction and clarity.

Many of the bloggers and twitterers I enjoy following filled me with hope and optimism that web2.0 really will make a difference to businesses this year. Well I for one hope they are right!

Away from my day job I am helping a Charitable Trust to raise their online profile. The huge range of no cost communication channels available via the web offers a massive opportunity for the Trust to get their message out to a wide audience by ensuring they have an interesting and dynamic website, linked of course via groups or pages on facebook, myspace, bebo et al plus of course establishing a regularly updated blog and using a number of other web2.0 apps to get their message out there. The work the Trust has carried out is quite amazing but this hasn't been captured or shared with the wider world, so later this month I will be attending their AGM to run through some of the options they might consider utilising.

Whilst there are numerous no cost options to outline, the question in my mind will be, how to ensure we put the most effort in to the areas that will hit our target audience and how will we know when we have reached them?

We should get some idea from web analytics, blog comments, details of social media group members and numbers of enquiries about how to help out that we are making progress, we shall see....