Twitter is for old people

According to Nielsen, Twitter is most popular with 35-49 year olds, with teens barely rating on the Twitter popularity scale: Twitter Doesn’t Smell Like Teen Spirit .

This makes perfect sense for three reasons:

  1. Twitter is so limited, so simple, that old people don’t feel intimidated by it. Therefore, they can get involved without fear that they are inadvertently giving away their credit card details or friend’s details. After all, a lot of TWEETERS operate under a pseudonym.
  2. Twitter isn’t very interesting. Compared to Facebook, Twitter is extremely limited. Younger people embrace neo–celebrity, that is – “the celebrity of me”. In the minds of this age group, “how can you truncate my brilliance into 140 characters”?
  3. It may well be that the data is skewed by the fad of Twitter – how many older people aren’t actually on it, but are hearing a lot about it at the moment, therefore answer a survey question in the positive? (Nothing against Nielsen’s excellent methodology of course!)

And now… when teachers start teaching kids about Twitter, rather than the other way around, it makes me think it’s the new Second Life, ie: not great.

What ever happened to Webrings?

In the olden days of the early-mid 90s, websites on like topics were linked via webrings; links / arrows on the bottom of the page that would link you to other sites on the same issue, topic, theme or industry.

Yahoo! carved out an audience not through search or email, but through their wonderful Directory service – one of the first user generated content sites whereby you could suggest sites to be listed. At one time almost every site in the world was listed in categories according to topic / subject. Webrings became obsolete as people could visit Yahoo! and find a one-stop “link shop”.

Webrings evolved from site based to browser based – Netscape started a “What’s Related” link on their browsers in 1999, where people could use the browser to find other related sites. However “What’s Related” failed due to privacy concerns.

Search overtook directories and webrings, as people could find the single or few most informative sites based on specific topic or keyword searches. Far more focussed and efficient, but at the cost of a broad view.

The beauty of webrings, Directory services such as Yahoo! and “What’s related” (although the latter was hardly a success), was that you could access the “universe” of websites on that subject directly – without being distracted or misled by search.

Webrings aren’t dead – Blogs have adopted a form of webrings through Blogrolls – lists of links to similar or related blogs.

But what of the vast majority of sites? Have companies and web developers forgotten about the social nature of websites – and that people want to know about the company, but also about the industry (dare we suggest competitors) through links!

So, what are the new webrings? In the era of search, are they relevant? Do we need them? Is the web too big to afford webrings? Or are webmasters now being judged on time spent ON site rather than sharing time between sites?

A trusted digital travel advisor

I recently returned from a very relaxing three week holiday in Greece and Italy. The groups that provided services and tours concluded the experiences with a request for a review on or a mention on travel forums.

While much of my holiday involved lazing about the beaches of Leros, and meandering about the shops and streets of Rome, Florence and Venice, I took some amazing tours, two of which stand out:
1. A tour of the Vatican with Grant from Eden Walks. Grant is an extremely knowledgeable and very entertaining tour guide – someone who can discuss the intricacies of the Catholic Church and link it to a contemporary reference such as “Batman: The Dark Knight”. At the end of his tour, he asked us all to provide the tour with an honest “hopefully positive” review on, or any other travel forums we happened to be visiting.

2. 500 Touring Club – A wonderful day driving old Fiat 500s around the streets of Florence and the hills of Tuscany. Again, Sophie and Alex, our excellent and friendly guides suggested posting about our experiences on TripAdvisor.

The request for reviews on these sites is necessary due to them being service providers. The difference between services and any other products of course is that services are:
Simultaneously produced and consumed
Cannot be transported
Somewhat unique or different with each turn or person

As a result, TripAdvisor and other user generated travel sites are providing these small service providers the most efficient way of communicating their good reputation to people all over the world. Without a good reputation that is easily accessible, they have nothing. They can’t send their services via the post, they can’t produce more. They must rely on the experience to tell the story – and the users to communicate that story. Advertising isn’t the best option; it’s more important that they are discovered at the right time, right place, on the right channel.

The only way these businesses can build awareness and trust is via the referrals of their users. In the old days, the primary means would have been travel media – a “pray for space”, rare option. Now, it seems to be TripAdvisor – a democratised, awareness building information source where anyone can review and rank their travel experiences, and anyone can find the reviews easily.

The network effect of such sites provides their greatest strength – people seek user generated votes and reviews via TripAdvisor, then contribute themselves, thus enhancing the experience for the next person, making the content far more discoverable, and so on.

HOT or NOT: A judgemental person’s delight

HOT or NOT is one of the most interesting sites I’ve seen in ages. My good friend RGM at Me and Us alerted me to its presence.

So quick, so instant, a site which enables you to judge thousands of people out of 10 purely on LOOKS! This is an anthropological study in the making, some sort of perfect survey on “looks” in contemporary society. In years to come people will be using this site to judge how fashion and looks have changed over the aeons. What do people find “attractive”? What is “good looking? How will it evolve?

I’m genuinely fascinated.

Travelling along nicely, thank you

In a mini little aside on this post from Russell Davies’ fantastic blog, he talks about helping others out to “save our souls”. Interesting. Have we (has Russell) been so conditioned by leftist media that in the simple act of providing for ourselves, building a better life, working hard and – gosh – making money, we should feel guilty and have to “give something back”?

I don’t feel I’ve sucked the world dry, nor do I feel that in the selfish act of taking care of myself, my family and my friends, I have made anyone worse off. Quite the opposite in fact. My hard work and creativity has provided the people I have worked with and worked for with great products, great concepts and great outcomes. More money, more jobs and more success. And people have benefitted as a result. I have provided choice, quality and a better life through my actions. Marginal, I know. I’m don’t think I’m that powerful that I’ve actually generated a quantum shift in any person’s life. But if through my work and kinship I have minutely and marginally improved the lives of even ten people, then I should feel happy about myself. Was it intentional – was my aim solely to improve their lives? No, not really. It was ultimately to improve my own life. It was about being selfish in my wishes and in achieving them, improving the world around me as a result. I don’t go to bed at night thinking that my white collar career trajectory has somehow contributed to the suffering of countless African children, or the oppression of “the workers”, because despite what you’d read in countless leftist, anti-Capitalist papers, LIFE and personal happiness begets life and happiness.

Why are we made to feel guilt by some sections of the media and society for simply living a happy life? Is Michael Leunig so unhappy and ashamed of his life that he must remind us all that we should share in this guilt? That he has “seen the light” and in living, in pursuing whatever goals and aspirations we desire, that we are all bloodsuckers?

This is ultimately what the “black armband view” of Australian history tells us. That instead of standing on the shoulders of giants, we are actually standing on the heads of those around us and before us.

I’m sorry, I don’t buy that view. I follow Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill’s view – that we all in our own way pursue our own interests (whatever they may be), and in doing so enhance, enrich and build a community, a world around us. We as humans seek our own welfare and best interests. That includes a STRONG element of societal congregation, love and acceptance. We temper our extreme selfishness or greed with an understanding and compassion that we should and ultimately do think of the others around us. But we can only contribute to the wellbeing and happiness of those around us if we have invested in ourselves enough. We treat others as we would be treated, but we can only treat others in the best possible way if we ourselves understand and expect a particular level of treatment. Self respect begets respect of others. Self love begets love of others.

Yeah I’m sure there are people who are nasty, or screw others over as a point of interest (and I’m sure Russell Davies is NOT one of these people); they should atone for their sins.

However the rest of us nice people, we “unwashed masses” that the elites will tell you are unenlightened, unfulfilled and in serious need of re-education, well, we’re travelling very nicely thanks very much; loving life.

Joost – a brand new way to watch TV shows online

I’ve been spending a lot of time on Joost lately; I got a Beta invite. And I can’t get enough. I reckon it’s the greatest internet based invention since Skype. No coincidence considering it was invented by the same guys. Like Skype, it uses peer to peer distribution in order to deliver video blindlingly fast.

Basically, it’s TV on demand in full screen, high resolution on your computer. Imagine Foxtel, but instead of waiting for the next show to start, or the show which is due in five hours, you simply look into the schedule and say: “that looks good”, click it and within 5 seconds, it starts.

Content from Sports Illustrated Swimsuits to Fifth Gear car reviews. From documentaries to cartoons. Sports broadcasts to Bridezillas. It’s great, and will only get better once more content providers come on board. Will Telstra use Joost as a distribution platform for AFL broadcasts?

So… Who wants an invite to beta test it?

I hate voicemail: Here’s four tips on handling voicemail

At the moment… is voicemail messages. I’ve hated them for a while without realising it, but I’m increasingly annoyed with them.

If you don’t answer, you can see who called anyway, thereby giving you enough info to return their call. If they then leave a message it’s both a waste of time and money for the both of you – unless of course there’s a deliberate reason for leaving the message – “Hey, I coudn’t get through to you, my phone is going to cut out soon I’ll meet you on the corner of such and such…”

But to leave a chain of messages within five minutes like “Hey, pick up your phone”, followed by “Hey, where are you, not picking up?”, followed by “Hey I can’t seem to get through”, is just dumb.

The problem is, I’m getting more and more “chain” voicemails. And I’m beginning to hate them, just like a friend who has never had voicemail diversion on his phone. His attitude is: “They’ll ring back, or if it’s urgent, they’ll SMS me”.

That’s far more sensible.  I can see it’s getting ridiculous – and reminds me of a lyric from the Living Colour song: “Information Overload”.

Surely by now humankind should have established some sort of voicemail etiquette?

I’ll start:
1. If you don’t know me, and you’re calling me, then it’s best you send a short SMS introducing yourself and asking for a response when I might best call you back. Don’t leave a voicemail.

2. If I do know you – never leave a voicemail

3. Unless it’s something amazing (eg: you’re trying to record something) please don’t leave a voicemail.

4. If we have a great day / night out / I do something really nice for you and you feel the need to call me and leave me a lovely voicemail. Please write me a nice SMS instead. Please don’t leave a voicemail.



Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer, was trained in typography. As was Tony Martin, Australia’s best comedian / radio host / film maker / film buff.

Who else?

What is it about typography that enhances lateral thinking and creativity? Or is it just a fluke these two very creative people trained in the same field? Or is it that creative people gravitate to typography, not that typography creates creative people?

Could it be the restrictions of shape, design and layout which hones the brain into looking for another solution – one which is creative and attractive but above all, readable? In other words, make it kooky, and you’ve got to make it simple.

That’s what all good creativity is about, no?