Now For Something Completely Different

I’ve been starting at a blank new post box for over an hour. (ok – not really, I moved onto other things but I left the tab open).  I want to put something out today but I’m not sure what exactly I want to focus on. I’ve spent a lot of time writing on everything but my personal life and I think it might be time for a more esoteric.

My lovely fiance and I just recently purchased our first house. And to make it even scarier – I’m going from living at home to owning a house. I’ve skipped the transitional apartment and jumped into the deep end.

But unlike a scared 3 year old at a pool – we are both amazingly excited. We take possession tomorrow (March 31st) and that couldn’t come sooner.

Despite worrying that we would have no furniture to fill it, we’ve slowly been accumulating more and more “things”. I’m still sure that it will take a while for it to feel as homey as home, but at least we won’t feel like squaters.

There are a few improvements to be made and I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures as the work progresses.

General Thoughts

I realize that Friday’s post is full of typographical errors and could probably be cleaned up to be more coherent. But let this serve as notice that I’m not going to bother with that.

Things are truly coming together for PodCamp London at the end of April. Its going to be an amazing event and I know for sure that it will be a great weekend. I’m working on lots of things behind the scenes so to speak and I’m excited to announce more in the coming weeks.

There is more then just PodCamp going on in London. I don’t want to reveal to much now, but suffice it to say  social media is going to be huge in London this year.

Until then

Observations about London: Community

I’m writing this as I wait to meet some friends at the Alex P. Keaton. So it won’t be in depth or linked up.

I’ve noticed something tonight (and throughout the week); London still has a small town atmosphere.

I’ve thought about that before bug it really came home to me fonigt as I popped into Joe Kool’s. A lot of people know each other. More then just casually too. A don’t think this is because they are regulars either.

London has small town connections with big city pluses.

I think it has somethig to do with the isolation here. While relatively spread out, eveyone still lives in the same geographic area called London. Unlike Toronto where you could be from and identify with any area ins two hour radius

The Main Stream Media in London Ontario

Now that we are fully involved in the internet age, and the recession seems to becoming an excuse for all sorts of job cuts are reorganization, many people are claiming that mainstream media (MSM) is dead; they can no longer compete with blogs and twitter and their organizational structure doesn’t allow them to get to the breaking news as fast as “the man on the street”.

I hope, for all our sake, that this isn’t the case. My reasons are not personal, nor are they because I have a favorite MSM news source. Rather, there is something about a news corporation’s ability to gather and report on news that is vital to a healthy democracy. (I’m going to have to leave that thought there for now, it’ll be something I come back to in a later post)

But in order to avoid falling into this recessionary mindset; that the only solution is to give up, or to think that the internet is out to get them, the MSM needs to embrace the web, and combine its features with their resources.

And that is why I am so happy to see what is going on here in the city of London. The local paper; the London Free Press, is heavily involved in Twitter. Not just as a newswire, but personal accounts from their editors and journalists. The LFP has gotten into live streaming events around the City and many of their personallities blog. A real blog with comments and an RSS feed.

Some of the radio stations in the city have also jumped on the Twitter bandwagon. And they too are actively involved in building a community with their listeners online.

But London’s MSM is not there yet. They still have a few vestigial behaviors. Here is my list of what still needs to be done (Its not particular to the LFP either).

  1. We work together – make it easy for us to provide you with our opinion and the news see happening everyday around us. And then make it easier for us to consume your product. Which means:
  2. Redesign your web interface so that it actually contains more  content then ads. That might involve
  3. Getting out from under your parent corporation

Now I don’t think that the last one is really a possibility. But in order for MSM and news in London to become fully social again (I would argue that at one point in history news was an incredible social activity) we need to become completely local – with no outside influence explaining how things should be run.

BP – Breakfast Podcast?

With the disapperance of our local morning show I have been thinking about what is going to replace it. I have seen some discussion around the web and some prototypes (I hope to see him up every morning at 3 am producing content) of what might happen now.

This is my thought

I will gladly pay $5 a month for a M-F podcast (audio or video) summarizing the daily news, local sports and weather. Thats all I ask – it wouldn’t have to be long. And I’m sure the data is all publicly accessible – I just want someone else to collect it for me.

So, when can I expect to see that in my feed reader?

The Social Media Scene In London Ontario

This is something that I have been thinking about more lately, and I really felt its effects last night that the monthly social media meetup at Molly Blooms.

The London social media scene took a while long while to take off. And it wasn’t  that people weren’t technologically active, it just took a time for them become more social and engaging with each other.

I have been involved in the “scene” since the beginning (If you can pin point a specific time). I don’t say that to brag or to claim expertise in anything, but its the reason why I say the following.

I feel that I have a bigger responsibility to the community

Its a strange type of responsibility though: I feel like a party host that has to make sure that everyone is having a good time and is actively engaging other people at the “party”.

It really felt like that last night at the meetup, with our largest turnout ever, and many new people, I wanted to make sure that everyone felt comfortable and was enjoying themselves.

I like playing an active role in the community, but I think I need to better delineate my role in the fishbowl.

What about my readers? Do you ever get that feeling of responsibility that you don’t think you deserve and may not know what to do with it?

A Few Notes of Thanks

I wanted to get into the swing of writing to this blog again and I thought that this post might be the bet way to do that.

Since the beginning of the year I have had a couple of favorable experiences with some online retailers and I wanted to share those here. I feel that good  customer service should be rewareded; and blogs are a great way to promote companies that you feel have gone above and beyond.

The firest was the online t-shirt company Threadless. I purchased some t-shirt there as Christmas gifts. One of them arrived with a small hole on the back. They did include a simple return form and I got a replacement shirt back really quickly. They also send me a $5 coupon for the hassle (as well as reimbursing me for shipping). Thanks Threadless!

My second item is a bit more unusual. One of my responsibilities at work has included some web design. In the process I encountered and and subsequently complained about EasyDNS on Twitter.

easydns

It was much to my surprise when about a month later I got an email from the CEO of EasyDNS, Mark Jeftovic, asking for clarfication on my complaints. Having seen my tweet, he decided to follow up with me personally.

I appalud EasyDNS for taking the time to focus on their public image, especially when I did not contact them directly. Mark mentioned some changes in the works that will resolve some of my earlier complaints.

These two stories are not the exception either. I have noticed very focused customer service from other online companies. I have been called (on the phone) by numerous following up on my use of their software. There are countless stories of web startups’ use of Twitter.

Yet again traditionally business’ could learn from this.