That's better. Made some serious CSS changes.

I think this blog theme even works in IE. Shocking.

I need to do some tweaks to my Tumblr theme soon. The jump to Disqus 3.0 has created a huge gap in the middle of any Social Media Reactions, which is probably my fault as I've done a few tweaks to the Tumblr CSS. I really want to explore the new custom CSS options for Disqus, has anyone experimented and produced a good write up?

In other news, JournoTwit has tag clouds which you can click through to see the tweets behind the tags, effectively letting you drill down into your columns and searches. I was speaking to Spode earlier, and this is (for me at least) the most powerful and praise-worthy feature yet. Please give it a try as we're desperate for any feedback, especially about the user experience. There are more details on the ChangeBlog

Why my life is still in beta

As you can see, I've started to work on a new theme for I will begin to host the blog on Posterous, consuming A very big THANK YOU should go to Darren from DTD Studio for kick starting that process with an awesome collection of cartoon social media icons. I'm going to try and make those into links to each profile that they represent.

CSS is a nice challenge. The redesign process has made me reconsider what I actually want and need from a blog. I'm not quite at the level of Posterous devotion to promote it as often as Steve Rubel, but I am enjoying the simplicity of platforms like Tumblr and Posterous. Working on the header, I was reminded of a conversation (via DM) I had not too long ago on Twitter.

I was asked about my tag line "my life is still in beta". I started using the line on my first blog because I loathed the default "Just another blog" message. I thought it was slightly witty and fun, but I honestly didn't give it much thought.

Recently I've come to reconsider that phrase and its relevance to me and the way I lead my life. It was during some of the intensely demanding periods of writing my dissertation that I experienced brief moments of total mental clarity. I get the same sensation when running, being consumed by one tough task allows me to see through to other thoughts and ideas.

My realisation was that I absolutely 100% live by the expression "the thrill is in the chase". I will work with and complete a To Do list but I don't enjoy the concept, instead I like to just have a bullet point list to provide a broad overview of my most serious projects or processes so I have some direction.

I traced the cause of this right back to primary school. I was surrounded by high achievers and I didn't really stand a chance at winning class prizes or awards for sports, but I came away from that school with every badge of honour you could associate with stamina and effort. I won medals at cross country, I received project prizes and endeavour awards. In free time the Scout Association drove my extra curricular activity, offering me the chance to take on different challenges and be what I wanted to be. I developed a rather cynical view of reward, finding it to be a termination point at which a medal or certificate put a stop to activities I enjoyed.

Growing up this apparently continued and I found that people value effort and any help I could give to assist them in achieving their goals. I now know that it is in fact bad to live life solely in the pursuit of others' dreams. At the same time, it is important to play to your strengths.

That (somehow) leads me back to my tagline. My life will always be in beta because that is just how I find the strength to do things. My focus is on the process and I live my life to enjoy the journey.

Spreading content and the automatic cross post culture

Today we had some serious rain, it went on solidly for about 30 minutes. I really liked the wave patterns the water made on the tarmac, so I thought I'd try and capture it on video. I took this as an opportunity to try out video on my camera, which I've never really done before. I should have grabbed the camera's mini tripod to give the video less shake. I'm quite impressed with the quality, especially as this was shot through double-glazed windows. I need to get an external microphone for my camera, and then I'll be able to join the video podcasting scene.

I've also not experimented with uploading video to Flickr before, it's always just served as a photo repository for holiday snaps. Flickr have also introduced the short URL for sharing pictures and videos on Twitter et al. This puts me in an awkward position, I've got too many options for uploading and sharing media on profiles and blogs.

Posterous have been experimenting with autoposting to external services and platforms like Twitter with APIs, just by taking any data you send to them via email. I'm able to use it for posting to any blog, my Tumblr and Twitter from conferences, so does that render other services I'm subscribed to, like Flickr, useless? No! I'll still use Flickr for my holiday albums but probably never for sharing content on Twitter.

How I post my content and where I publish it are related issues. I can post to any site and have it stay there, or have the content forwarded and posted to another site as well. I'm really not a fan of the cross posting culture that you increasingly witness on the blogosphere. I don't believe you can claim to be "plugged in" to a blogging community just because your posts are actually coming from one email to Posterous which pushes content to Twitter, your blog, FriendFeed and Tumblr (and maybe more). That's just being noisy.

I hate that I've used Posterous in this example. Posterous is not to blame for this cross posting culture, their service is superb, and it will only get better. The problem here is the people using services like it. They know that a greater audience will see something they have created if it is posted everywhere. What we've ended up with isn't just an echo, but a series of echoes. How do we tidy up this mess?

There are two groups of people I have a huge amount of respect for:

  1. those that are able to maintain profiles on a handful of the platforms (Twitter, Tumblr, Posterous etc) and post unique content to each, and to take part in each community's conversation
  2. people that can use FriendFeed to filter the real-time web properly, that can see through the cross posting culture, and have a conversation around any and all content. These people understand the echo problem and are working with a solution (although I don't think FriendFeed is necessarily the solution)

I place this cross post culture next to the issue of "quality vs quantity" because I think the hunger for a large audience is close to the root. If content publishers are struggling to get page views and subsequent ad revenue then they are going to resort to cross posting, just as Mashable does with their Tumblr. But as an individual that enjoys the conversations inside each community, what's your excuse?