Wait Til You See This: Is The Most Awesome Viral Headline You’ll Ever Click

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The debate of qualitative versus quantiative is unlikely to ever be resolved. It was one of the first things we tackled in my Politics degree; it’s something that I was always concious of whilst I was at Miniclip last year analysing how many extra clicks posting half an hour later on Tuesday produced. With the embrace of “big data” it’s apparently something we’re all going to have to deal with at some point.

Yet weirdly for something that literally all of the cool kids are talking about there’s very little consensus about how far quantiative should be embraced over qualitative or even straight-up whether it should be embraced over qualitative at all.

The most common line you’ll see is some sort of hybrid approach is necessary, and that’s probably right — at least in my experience it’s what’s been most effective. I’m reading Nate Silver’s book The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction at the moment and whilst Nate ers on the side of quantiative he absolutely doesn’t think we should embrace data unreservedly and leave independent creative thought at the door.

Personally I have an immense amount of respect for those able to draw up huge amounts of data-driven formulae which offer a huge amount of insight, I’m just not very good at producing them myself. I’m also wary — mainly from my own experiences — of unreserved faith in the power of big data. If you’re not careful it only traps you into persauding yourself what you’re doing now is as effective as it can possibly be and leaves you blind to different or innovative approaches. It’s also incredibly easy to assume if something can’t easily be quantified it mustn’t be of any value or worth; that’s not true either.

So the answer’s somewhere in the middle. That’s hardly groundbreaking; we all know that, it’s just we sometimes like to forget it sometimes.

Oh, and the title? That’s so this post gets as many viral as possible. It’s using science!

Visiting Bath 2014

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I went to Bath last weekend to stay with a friend. I’d only been once before when I was very young and I don’t really remember anything from the trip. So we’ll call this my first time in Bath. It’s a really lovely town and naturally I snapped some pics. Enjoy:

“How to genuinely connect with people on social media”

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Probably for the first time since I left Miniclip ten months ago I’ve spent some serious time recently looking at social media strategy to make sure the social media work I’m doing with societies at Uni is as brilliant as it can be. As was inevitable a lot of stuff has changed in the last ten months, but equally a lot of stuff has stayed the same.

Two of those things that have stayed the same are the huge importance of having a) putting out quality original content and b) having a consistent and engaging “brand voice”.

Completely by accident I stumbled across a great talk by wonderful musician Juila Nunes on how she engages with her fans through her social media presences and uses social media to genuinely connect with people. It’s probably one of the best talks I’ve seen in a while – definitely take eighteen minutes and thirty seconds and check it out.

Ohey Nelson

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I’ve already Instagrammed it but I wanted to share this pic of Nelson’s Column I snapped last night properly. I had my camera with me and was pleasantly surprised with how well it handled the low light.

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We were, of course, at Trafalgar Square in order to visit the giant blue cockerel that now sits on a plinth outside the Canadian Embassy. Apparently giant blue cockerels are something London does now.

When I was 12 I tried to make the “perfect” homepage…

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Found this the other day — a screenshot of my first real venture into websites, a site designed to be the “perfect” homepage, built with Google’s Site Builder.

It was shite and never really went anywhere, but it got me started and you can draw a pretty direct line from this first site to WPShout and where I am today.

It was probably for the best the site didn’t succeed (would you want that as your homepage?), but we’ve all got to start somewhere, right?

Minimum viable product vs perfection

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This guy got off the ground.

This guy got off the ground.

So I’ve had this idea for a blog. I had the idea three years ago back when I was running WPShout. It was going to be this really cool blog about blogging, content marketing and social media; the kind of thing that would give you all the tools you need to be a super duper kick-ass blogger.

Blogging is a topic I’m passionate about and very happy writing at length on and I’ve got the experience and skills to write about it with some authority too. I’m capable of putting together a decent design for the site and my work with Shout means I’ve got hosting and all the infrastructure I’m going to need set up already.

Really I had no excuse not to get this blog launched, and indeed I’ve tried to do so twice. Both times my work with Shout prevented me from getting the site out there, but since I moved on from the site back in September last year I’ve lost that excuse. Sure, I’ve been busy doing my degree, but heck, I do an arts subject with nine contact hours a week. It’s not like I don’t have time to do other stuff.

I had hoped to get the blog launched over Christmas, but obviously that didn’t happen. I’ve had the site at “minimum viable product” stage since Christmas, but yet again I’ve held off pulling the trigger on the launch.

So here’s a question. Why the hell can’t I get this blog launched?

The answer’s pretty straightforward and it’s more or less what you’d expect — I’ve been obsessed with making sure the site is in an absolutely perfect state when it launches, with email signup forms perfectly analysed and five-thousand word eBooks ready to go in order to draw in readers. I’ve been going along with the thinking that unless te site is perfect, there’s no point launching it at all.

And yet, there comes a point where a barebones work-in-progress site is vastly better than no site at all. Putting off pulling that launch trigger for too long leaves you three years late to the launch party and with an awful lot of catching up to do.

In my quest to give myself the perfect starting point for this new blog I’ve produced the result of no blog at all, which is tragically ironic, really.

There comes a time when you’ve got to give up on perfection and go with whatever you can get away with. For me and this new blog, we’re about to reach that time. Hopefully this time it’ll work; just don’t make this same mistake that I’ve made. Go do shit.

Facebook’s changed my life is over

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Over the last couple of days Facebook has been rolling out a new look for its newsfeed. The new look was announced with much fanfare just over a year ago, but it seems a year of constant testing has resulted in something which isn’t quite what we were used to but isn’t quite the bold vision they set out either.

And that’s fine; that’s good, even — they tested the new look and the data said people didn’t like it. Presumably this hybrid has been tested too and the data says people like it more.

The “old” Facebook looked dated and just wasn’t really a pleasant experience to use; the newsfeed defnitely needed a refresh. A radical change was needed to stop ficle teenagers like me from getting bored with the whole platform.

Yet, Facebook’s changed and I don’t really like it.

Maybe it’s cause I’m a member of a thousand groups so have an uber-cluttered sidebar, or maybe it’s cause I’m colourblind so I’m not quite picking up on the colour subtleties, but it… it just looks like a bit of a cluttered mess. When the site first showed the new look I hit refresh again thinking only half of the stylesheet had loaded.

The seemingly random juxtaposition of sans-serif with serif, the way at least on my 13″ laptop everything feels a bit cramped, especially the way the sidebar’s background-blending has the result of creating a sense of incoherence; I really want to like the new look, but it feels slightly half-hearted and completely lacking of any subtleties. Facebook’s been putting out some actually-really well designed products of late; the experimental iPhone release Paper is something I actually really want to be able to use and the original concept for the newsfeed redesign looked really interesting. But this feels like a compromise to far.

Hey, maybe it’ll grow on me — I’ve no doubt I’ll grow to like or at least tolerate it. I’m just quite disappointed. As my friend Raf so beautifully sang, Facebook’s changed. My life is over.