August 16th, 2009

Back from the depths of Distraction

distractedThis blog has been on hiatus for a while now, since November last year to be more precise. So I thought anybody who is good enough to read what I have to say deserves a bit of an explanation about where I have been all this time. There are a few different reasons, let me run them down for you :

1) Twitter

Yes, I have been on Twitter for more than the hiatus. But I want to be honest here, at some point around the end of last year as the world started to discover Twitter en-masse, as for many people, Twitter became such an easy method to update and communicate about news that I got a little lazy about going to the effort of writing full sentences and paragraphs and became sucked in by the immediacy of the Tweet.

2) Other projects

Lets call a spade a spade, I got busy.

In January I launched Retweetist, a Twitter Website that searched for all the retweets to determine trending topics, popular users and generally what people felt was worth repeating. This could probably have done with a post or two of my own, but being a Twitter project, I was blinded by the Twitter magic for getting the word out here.

UltraSuperNew Inc.My agency, UltraSuperNew Inc, has had an intense year. After picking up the Red Bull Japan account in October last year we have been busy and getting more and more involved, guzzling lots of Red Bull energy on the way. One of the highlights was the bicycle installation we made through the streets of Harajuku claiming to have borrowed parts of people’s bicycles. We got into a little trouble for that one, but the result made it worth while. We have picked up a number of interesting projects with Audi, including running live streaming of their press events and the new mobile website. And that’s just the start.

Press Army, a company that was birthed from a key need of UltraSuperNew to report on the success of social media activities, has now got legs. We launched it as an independent company just recently and have been growing that business very fast with some great new people on board, joining the talented team who has been behind it from the start.

3) A real world social life

Image by susiviews

Photo by susiviews

Looking past the tweets, status updates and general sharing of digital bits and pieces, I have managed a little more attention this year on exploring the world first hand. I have managed to visit about 8-10 new cities this year that I had never visited before, primarily across India and China — and most of those were not related to work!

I have also been cultivating a non-public life which I enjoy in that it is shared just with close friends and family. This is something I recommend everyone try to do. When we share things online, even on a closed connection with so-called “friend relationships”, I really consider this as a public forum. At some point a work colleague, a client or someone otherwise outside your central circle is going to be included into this platform (be it Twitter, Facebook, Mixi or whichever other service you might consider), so you may as well consider it public from the start… then at least there is a chance you keep the public embarrassments to a minimum. [note: I still have plenty of embarrassing moments captured online, so my method hasn’t exactly been foolproof]

So, what does this return to the blogosphere mean?

As I have been distracted by the tweeting, the busyness and a private life, I have been slowly building up the urge to once again express myself in an expanded form online. The blog is the best way to achieve that result, and these days everything connects enough that I can push and pull content to and from other places that my presence can be maintained across the multiple networks without too much management time spent.

In my hiatus I experimented with Yongfook’s Sweetcron to try to merge all my streams of data. The software was a great idea and very neatly executed, but ultimately I found that I ended up with an unbalanced public page. When I mashed together Twitter, Blog posts, Flickr, Youtube etc, I ultimately ended up with a custom Twitter feed where if you were quick you might catch a glimpse of something else. Didn’t work for me.

On the other hand the progress that WordPress has made recently (especially since version 2.8) has been very impressive. It has brought me back to the fold with auto-updates, auto-installs, widgets, more evolved CMS structure and lots of bug fixes that enable me to swiftly make updates and system changes.

So, I am back.

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