A New Way to Procrastinate

Originally uploaded by violet.blue.

Around semester’s end at university we all got some good house cleaning done. Even in a share house of stinky boys (them not me ;)) the urge to clean was greater than the urge to study/write essays. It doesn’t quite get that bad when you are working on pitches for clients … and certainly blogging can become a pure form of procrastination that becomes more addictive as the deadline nears …

And while procrastination can take many forms, I had never considered taking portraits of myself in my underwear. Ariel claims that "self portrait strip tease" is a common practice for ladies — but I was wondering whether it was something guys do. It brings a whole new level of double entendre to AgencyWorld’s tendency to work on late night proposals — just so long as some of those "procrastination" shots don’t end up in the pitch documents.

Oh, and Ariel also points to this Flickr set by Violet Blue, for more procrastination shots.

Vote for Maryam

Originally uploaded by melfeasance.

As you know, I recently discovered Maryam’s delightful blog on the joys and challenges of living in a foreign country. If you have not yet taken a look through Maryam’s site you are in for a TREAT … it is filled with poetic descriptions of places, sites and scenes and, in case you can’t believe her words, she also includes pictures!

Maryam is able to capture a balance between the writing and imagery that enhances both … and she writes with a unique voice and a true love for her new home in Marrakesh. But, don’t take MY word for it, read this post or any others in her well-stocked archive.

Now, Maryam has been nominated for the 2007 Annual Weblog Awards … so if you have seen and loved her blog, be sure to vote for her! Remember, you only have until 02FEB07!

MyBlogLog and the End of Lurking

After getting a couple of messages via MyBlogLog, I decided I would take a closer look and see whether it actually has anything to offer. Sure enough, there are a couple of people I know bouncing around there … with David Armano, Ariel Waldman, Marcus Brown and Mike Sansone making appearances … so at least there are some faces that I can recognise in the MyBlogLog sea of community.

Now, I completely understand the concept of personalising your site or your brand … and I totally get my friend Mike Wagner’s Own Your Own Brand philosophy, but I have got to say that I don’t necessarily like to see my face on the web. I don’t know if it is modesty or shame but you will notice there are very few photos of me here. In fact, the first photo of me to appear on the web was posted along with my profile over at MarketingProfs (Ann Handley has a lot to answer for). And I do find it bizarre to see my face appearing in the MyBlogLog widget that is spreading like a rash across the web. Perhaps I would not mind so much if it showed your face AFTER you left the site — but to arrive at a site and see this seems strange.

And as I considered this, it made me also think through the concept of lurking. Because there I was, visiting Drew McLellan’s site (where I hardly ever leave a comment), and it struck me that Drew could now tell that I had been visiting. Does this mean that the lurkers can no longer drop by unannounced? Will this make us more or less adventurous? Does this change the relationship between blogger and blogged to?

While I can’t imagine that this changes anything too much, the addition of personal images does play a part in HOW we select links. For example, are you more or less likely to click the picture of an attractive blogger over a less attractive one? What about an ugly blogger? Take a look here and see which images you choose to click on. Are your choices completely random?

Remember when we used to say that the best looking people on the web were poets?

2000 Bloggers

OK … looks like I am coming late to this one … but Tino Buntic has created what looks like another version of the Z-list — except this time to be added to the list you have to return to his site and add your name in the comments. It is a montage of the photos of 2000 bloggers (currently up to about 650 judging by the comments).

Interesting … it takes and extends a bit of Sandy’s idea with the Z-list and gives it a twist. Whereas Sandy’s approach was to take a design element and incorporate it into the montage, Tino’s idea is to use actual photos of the blog author. I was surprised to see a few faces there that I knew … and it made me think about the use of personal photos on blogs (another post to follow on this). It also made me think about MyBlogLog … as the reason I happened across 2000 Bloggers was through a bit of MyBlogLog hypertext love. Hmmm … I will need to think through this a little more!

Are You Ugly Enough?

Ugly Dolls
Originally uploaded by MMena.

The very clever Constantinos Demopoulos (Dino) shares what is my NEW favourite website — Uglynet — a community for ugly people. I think I have finally found a home!

Check it out … it is not about how you look — actually it is about the opposite! It is a community that is pushing against the beauty industry, against representations of "beauty" and challenging us all to think about it.

I particularly love the fact that you can download an Ugly People widget … similar to the MyBlogLog one that seems to be popping up all over the place. (Speaking of ugly … I really don’t like seeing my own pic suddenly there on other websites — it freaks me out.)

I will certainly be keeping my eye on this community!

The End of Advertising?


I love this picture by David Armano. I am particularly fascinated by the way that David is able to tease out a problem and turn it into something visual. I guess that is, in part, what makes him and his work + blog so successful (does this sound like blog envy). But one of the reasons that David’s work is so strong is because of what his visuals DO NOT say.

There is no doubt that David is tapped into the blogosphere zeitgeist … a quick review of his most popular posts will show that his thinking is at the very forefront of blog/interactive strategy. But where he is consistently strong is in positioning the questions that allow us all to enter the debate. He certainly stimulates my thinking and pushes me to ask questions about my own approaches, theories and working processes.

This recent post is a great case in point. On the surface, this post is about R/GA being awarded AdWeek Interactive Agency of the Year, but as David explains, combining storytelling with a compelling experience is not easy (if it was we would all be doing it). It is clear that new modes of storytelling and new forms of engagement are emerging — in fact, they are being demanded by consumers — but central to this shift in the consumer-brand dynamic is the seismic shift in technology that continues to undermine the role of agencies. But not all agencies … just those that refuse to acknowledge and adapt to the shift. (OK this is really the subject of another post …)

Perhaps what is most interesting in this is not the agency world, but the consumer world. For example, if consumers are the ones who generate your ads, then are they still called ads? If the direction of your art comes not from "creatives" but spills forth from the fertile imaginations of your most passionate brand advocates, is it owned by the brand or by the creator? And if the emotional resonance of this work carries more weight and generates more sales than "professional" work, does the applause ring out or does it sound like the end of an industry?

Escaping the Ad:Tech Prison

Meeting Prison
Originally uploaded by Valentinian.

The Ad-Tech roadshow opens its doors in Sydney in February. I am generally a little sceptical of these blab fests, but they do create a nice forum for people to meet. You can check out the schedule here.

One of the more interesting off-campus events is being organised by The Bargain Queen at the Arthouse Hotel on 7 February from 7.00pm. Don’t forget to register/RSVP — should be fun. Beer and bloggers! Now that sounds more like my style!

Ministry of Enjoyment

Marrakesh Souq
Originally uploaded by ajblachman.

It has been a while since I took a freeform trip along the hypertext trail … of course, there have been some detours, like the various memes as well as the fabulous Z-list … but these were more structured, and somehow lacked the randomness that I love. (The Z-list started, of course, as a meme about marketing blogs.)

But tonight, there was a touch of serendipity — an email/comment from Maryam in Marrakech. Now I am always going to be intrigued by an email address like that … I felt certain that there had to be a story attached.

Sure enough, it didn’t take long and I was sucked into this exciting and exotic blog about living in Africa. It is full of the sites and sounds of Africa, touching on the vibrancy and history but also looking at the challenges of expatriate living. There is certainly a strong sense of wonder peppered throughout the articles, whether it is fascination with shopping and markets, history or even the making of personal histories in a foreign land. And while Maryam’s blog is fantastic, it also led me elsewhere …

Maryam showcases some of the cutest kids products I have ever seen — handmade modern toys for kids. Unfortunately, ZidZid do not have an online shop … BUT Julie Klear very kindly forwarded me a catalogue of the latest items (all the way from Marrakech–don’t you love email?). I am sure if you e-mail her she would send you one too (use the Contact Us link on the ZidZid site).