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Every story has an agenda... 
Greetings from the shed...
It’s been a manic week. Lots of driving. Lots of meetings and lots of learning.
My Dad asked me to head over to Baavet HQ in Wales.
He would like me to advise on social comms and marketing. It’s not the first time.
Back in 2009 I started talking about @Baavet on Twitter. Yesterday he told me that without the birth of this online community, there would have been no company. That was the catalyst that got the natural wool duvet ball rolling.
I still tend to romanticise that time in social media. And 2009 was a pivotal point. I played in as many spaces as possible, with as many devices.
Smartphones were only just starting to gain popularity. It would be a little while till one device could do it all. And many still depended on a desktop or laptop to browse the social feeds.
Today we are awash with video via YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok, but back then text-based updates and images very much dominated. It was still hard to upload from mobile. There were apps that were capable, but with home broadband at around 4.1Mbit/s and 3G mobile offering a early seen 7 down and 2 up, it’s a far cry from the 10 gigabits per second 5G is able to offer today.
In 2009, just as we were working out how to upload video from mobile, Seesmic was in its death throes. Instead of asking the community how to get it over the plateau and potentially make the biggest video chat platform ever — it pivoted into shit and disappeared.
Although I was using MySpace, Flickr, AudioBoo, Plurk and a bunch of other places. Facebook and Twitter were very much the dominant platforms. Compared to today’s glut of options it was easier for us to focus and flip between those two main spaces. Plus the algorithms were yet to finely hone their dark ways.
With the rise of platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, visual content was very much being pushed to the fore. And with it, influencer marketing popped up. Back then we called it amp-ing. Anyone looking to ‘amplify’ something in the feeds would seek out those with larger networks who were good with a camera. For me and my early-adopter fiends it was a case of offering behind-the-scenes tours, or open and transparent discussions with brands. We did our best to make it obvious if there were perks or money involved.
Nowadays with a legal framework in place influencer marketing is everywhere. But it can still be hard to know if a brand is paying someone to promote a product or service.
On the up side, 2009 saw an increased focus on privacy. Many of the data savvy were raising awareness of the dangers of corporate data collection and tracking, as well as illegal government surveillance and the misuse of personal information. As a result social media platforms faced numerous controversies around privacy and data protection.
The 1984 Symposium I host on Orwell’s birthday was in its 3rd year. It would be another 4 years before Edward Snowden would release highly classified information showing the world just how serious the situation was. As a result, many platforms made changes to their policies in an attempt to better protect user privacy. But as we know, that battle is far from won.
In 2008 @Ilicco smuggled me and @Sizemore into a Thomson Reuters Newsmaker event and we did just that. As I live streamed Gordon Brown using my Nokia N95 in one hand, I Tweeted from an iPhone in the other. Elsewhere @Sizemore manned mission control and Ilicco calmed those upset that our livestream, was hitting screens before the official one.
Not long later, after the bloggers and edge cases paved the way, 2009 saw things get serious with a rise in how social media were being used by politicians. Not just to communicate with their constituents, but to express their political views to an audience only normally available through traditional media channels. Here is David Cameron who was a little confused to be doing an interview into my phone.
But it’s now a sci-fi-esq 2023. and social media looks very different with the many changes that have had a profound impact on the way we communicate, share and consume.
So yes. Back then we could talk about a British made ‘natural wool duvet’ and people would listen. We were the first. Baavet still do an organic duvet but can it be sold with organic content?
Today the competition for attention has been dialled up a notch. With billions of active users, it can be difficult to stand out.
Everything we did back then was organic. Today paid advertising rules and organic content struggles for visibility. Facebook and Instagram both heavily prioritise content from advertisers over organic posts.
It’s hard to know exactly who sees what in the feed. Fine-tuned algorithms prioritise certain types of user interactions and content.
While TikTok might give new sign-ups a boost, you’d better start paying if you want your videos to be seen. And Google demands more if you want to stay on top. It’s hard to keep up.
I never expected Facebook to bury posts from businesses under those from friends and family. It is harder for small business to now reach their target audience, but if you have a product that improves someone’s life, people will talk about it for you.
Despite the more aggressive gatekeepers, I haven’t given up on being social with our media. Some platforms can still get a message out. They can still connect us with each other and help us find new and interesting things.
As A.I. also revolutionises these places, not everything has changed. It’s still about high-quality visual content, relevant hashtags and engaging with your network. Also collaboration and consistency of message. Just take your time.
Above all, experiment with different strategies and get creative. If you believe in what you are saying — what you are selling. You’ll find a way through.
I finally got round to watching Godless. It’s a 15 and as dark as i’d expect from the Wild West of the 1880’s. I imagine I’m the last one to see it but if not, check it out.
Every time I find an old paper concert ticket, or diary entry from my childhood, i’ll archive it in my digital diary. Terence Eden has been adding backidated blogposts after finding writings from the 80’s. It’s called Necroposting. Blogging from before you started blogging.
Conspiracies are the price of freedom
12+ years ago I was a little tipsy having a drink with Prof Brian Cox and foolishly recorded it.
Breaking into a bank with an A.I voice.
My new favourite cooking channel. Snack Hacker with George Egg.
He does some mad stuff. He’s also cooked on a hotel room iron like I have. But I don’t cook noodles in the kettle. At least not since I once had a cup of tea in my room and it tasted like Pot Noodle.
Starbucks is offering customers an ‘Oleato’ in Italy. It’s arabica coffee infused with a spoonful of Partanna cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil.
The irony of being in Wales with Baavet (specialists in improving peoples sleep with epic bedding) and sleeping badly did not escape me. I was in a four star hotel but had one star bedding, air quality and noise levels. I’m told I can nip over the road next time and have a custom ‘travel Baavet’ made if I forget to bring my own. All I need then will be open windows and the earplugs I wear on my motorbike.
Decent sleep can add years to your life.
Having just lost my tripod mount before heading out on a job I really had to replace it. I’ll also be getting a spare. Yes it’s that good. I’m addicted to it’s simplicity.
The one I lost was a freebee sent for me to review. They cost £12 on the evil Amazon (affiliate link). If you fancy one it might be worth going to their site. Or 3̶D̶ ̶p̶r̶i̶n̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶i̶t̶?̶ Nah. That would be wrong.
Dirty air friers pose a fire risk.
I’d ignore the sensationalist title of the video. It’s an interesting explainer on bicycle gearboxes though.
I must thank the paying subscribers that pay a small abmount to get all the content I share into this feed. If you are able, please upgrade to become a paid supporter.
European commission bans TikTok from staff devices.
Have you added yourself to the Documentally community map? You have? You’re the best.
Deepfakes plus A.I are going to get very interesting indeed. And not necessarily in a good way.
The ‘Online safety bill’ Yea that’s double speak… is insane. Signal agree.
I started on this before 9am and am only just finishing now. I know it’s just a lot of words on a page, but that’s how long it took today as I had no research time this week.
I’m not looking for sympathy. Just some new subscribers, perhaps at least one person to ‘like’ the online page, and if you really care, a comment to show you are out there. Oh and world peace.
If I owe you an email I’ll be heading to the inbox soon. Until then, or the next email, thanks for reading and have a great week.
“You don’t want a million answers as much as you want a few forever questions. The questions are diamonds you hold in the light. Study a lifetime and you see different colors from the same jewel. The same questions, asked again, bring you just the answers you need just the minute you need them.” ~ Richard Bach
See you out there.