Tagblog

1500

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According to my WordPress dashboard, this is blog post #1.500. For something I hadn’t expected to go very far, that seems a lot.

Somewhere along the way there was a name change and some technical issues with the import, so I can’t fully tell when the first posts went live – according to WordPress, in 1970. Also, there were other outlets before, although I don’t remember if I called that blogging at the time. One required manual FTP uploads per post, and my co-author and I had devised some cunning pretty lame split screen design made up from HTML tables, with his writings on one side and mine on the other. Geocities, too, as well as a number of hosted blogs, all before I started using this WordPress-Domain Name-Combo as my digital home.

So, 1.500 posts in, and even though that’s spread out over just a few years already there’s a significant data rot at work. If anything, this mini anniverary serves as a reminder of how much backups matter, and beyond that, how we should ask ourselves which elements of the digital we want to preserve beyond the digital, and which we’re ok to treat as ephemeral, in other words, that we’re ok to lose later or sooner.

Just a few weeks ago I ordered a stack of photo copies on paper out of my Flickr account. I have most of these images somewhere, stored and in most cases backed up several times over. Yet, they’re ordered and labeled relatively poorly, practically untagged, and even though I’m good at deleting ruthlessly, there are still thousands upon thousands of them, aka Never Will I Revisit Them All Or Find The One I’m Looking For. So I ordered physical copies of about a hundred. Some ended up pinned on the wall, more in a few envelopes labeled ominously “Flickr, pre 2012”. Not good, but better than nothing as it helps provide at least a bare minimum of context.

Now if only Twitter/Snapfish also offered to print the photo metadata (title, tags, location, time, people tagged on the photo) on the back of these photos, we’d all be better off. (Flickr! Snapfish! Feature request!)

Anyway. Long story short, this is blog post #1500. It’s been a good time. See you at 2K.

A digital inventory

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image by johannes kleske

Every day, I post to a number of web services. Quite a few actually. So here’s a quick inventory of the services that are most important in my daily life – for easier navigation, and because – let’s face it! – we all use these things in very different ways. So we can all learn from each other’s tech setups.

thewavingcat.com

This blog you’re reading just now is run on WordPress, on a cluster of Mediatemple’s Grid Service. It’s a great, open source blogging platform on a solid hosting that’s easy to use and maintain. It’s where I post (too rarely) about the stuff I do, what I think about, event announcements and the like. It’s more a log than anything else, a place for me to put stuff that I need a URL for – so it’s easier to link and refer to from other places. It’s also my homebase online.

Twitter (@peterbihr)

My second home on the web is Twitter. This is where I’m certainly most active, where I share quick thoughts, comments and most importantly, questions. What my blog lacks in terms of posting frequency I certainly make more than up for on Twitter. If you want to know what I’m thinking about, and if you don’t mind mostly unstructured thoughts & info as well as eclectic links, follow me at @peterbihr.

Tumblr

I have quite a few tumblelogs, and enjoy starting them even just for a quick joke or so. The one I use most is thewavingcat.tumblr.com, where I (mostly re-)post things I find on the web. Photos, videos, the more fluffy kind of stuff.

Flickr

Most of my photos go on my Flickr page. It’s where I upload a lot of mobile photos as well as the occasional screenshot. I use this for all kinds of purposes: as documentation, to share photos or events, and as an image database for blog posts etc. I don’t use most of the social features on Flickr, except faveing photos to find them again later. Also, the Creative Commons photo search is great to find images for blog posts. It’s both a joy and a working tool, really.

Pinboard

When there were rumors of Yahoo shutting down their social bookmarking service Delicious, I quickly migrated my data to Pinboard, and couldn’t be happier. Via bookmarklet I save all relevant links with one click, and tag them for easier re-use. We also use Pinboard as a tool for our work at Third Wave – by collaboratively saving articles with one tag that we then use to generate our weekly reading lists and other posts.

Instapaper

Are you like me and tend to curiously open all kinds of articles “to read later” until your browser has so many tabs that it won’t display the little icons anymore? Then Instapaper is for you. Via a bookmarklet you mark articles to read later, and the service collects them for you, so you can read them on a different device when you like. I hear it’s super smooth with iPads. I use the Kindle, where it’s not quite as perfect, but still worth the transfer so I can read longer articles on my next train ride or in a café.

quote.fm

If I stumble over an interesting quote, I usually tweet it or throw it on my Tumblr. However, that is changing: Since quote.fm has launched (currently in semi-private beta, I think, so keep an eye out for invites), this has becoming more and more where I send my quotes, and where I go to get some fresh ideas during the day. The strength here is that they turn quotes into social objects that can be shared and commented on. Sounds somewhat boring? Yes it does, but give it a try. It’s really very, very good. Join the conversation!

So here you have it, that’s my digital setup. What’s yours?

Image by Johannes Kleske, some rights reserved.

Berlin Munchies: New Berlin Food Blog

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Bagel at Goldmarie, Kreuzberg

A new pet project of mine is all about food: Berlin Munchies is a blog about food in Berlin. Not exactly haute cuisine, but down-to-earth, day-to-day food encounters. My collaborators Michelle and AlienTed and I take snapshots of food we encounter in places we like, and add a brief description. We focus on restaurants and snack bars, cafes and bars.

It’s all very beta, totally subjective, and low-key: We take the pics mostly with our cellphone cameras and have them posted automatically to the blog. (I really like the live character of posting straight from my phone, but the quality really is somewhat sad.)

So here’s what to expect: A (often blurry – cellphone camera, remember?) photo of a dish or a drink; a brief description of why we like the place; and an idea of where to find it. That’s it.

Inspiration came from two food blogs I recently encountered: New York based The Young & Hungry, and J‘s Let’s Break Bread. Both are great; both look much better than ours; still, I think there’s a lot of yummy food to be had in Berlin. So if you’re in town and are looking for a snack or a drink, have a look.

Photo: Bagel at Goldmarie, Kreuzberg

Social Media Campaigns: My Facebook Is Mine

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Working with companies on their social media campaigns can pose a tricky dilemma for the consultants: on the one hand you’re hired because you know your way around the social media sphere, which of course you do because you’re very active there. On the other hand, you don’t want to abuse your personal social network for your clients. After all, who likes Tupperparty-style personal interactions?

So how much of your clients’ work should be mixed into your own social networks: Blog, Twitter, Facebook? I think we can all agree that full disclosure is the least all of us in the social media sphere need to do. (Here’s a list of my most relevant clients, and I’ll fully disclose wherever a conflict of interest may arise.) But that shouldn’t be all.

I’ve had situations where my business and private activity got mixed up. Partly that’s a good sign, as I often get hired to do stuff I love to do. At other times, there just wasn’t time to set up separate accounts. Sometimes, you forget to log out of your private account and into the campaigns account – it can happen. And frankly, it’s not the end of the world. After all, if I wouldn’t want to be associated with my clients, I wouldn’t work for them.

Still, it feels like all of us – together, or each of us individually – will need to negotiate best practices, guidelines, rules of thumb: Where do we draw the line? What’s ok, what’s annoying, what’s abuse of personal ties and friendships? How many invites to become fans of this new sneaker or that band or this party do we really want to find in our Facebook inbox? Using Overly abusing your personal friends for work will burn your social capital cost you friendships, and no job is worth that.

So here’s what I think I’ll go by, my personal rule of thumb:

  • Facebook: My Facebook is mine, and mine alone. I might decide to post stuff there if I personally care about them. But I won’t run another campaign inside my own Facebook – everything beyond setting up a Facebook page and handing it over is just too socially awkward.
  • Blog: I might blog my observations and thoughts on a campaign or project, mostly on a meta level.
  • Twitter: I might post a link to a project or campaign, with disclosure. The higher frequency of posts per day allows more liberal handling. Where possible, I’ll opt for setting up a dedicated Twitter account.

For all of these, I’m the only person to decide what I run in my personal outlets, how I run them, and what not to run. I won’t ever post anything a client or third party tries to pressure me into.

All of this is in flux, and will have to evolve over time, but it’s a start. And I’m very curious about your take on all this: How do you go about it?

What’s a blog? A green monster living in your toilet, says illustrator

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What’s a blog, I asked the FILU illustrator box at the Frankfurt book fair. The illustrator box was a machine comparable to the Mechanical Turk, only more fun: You could slide in a request for a visualization, i.e. ask for an image of something (I asked “what’s a blog”); you’d put a coin in a coin slot; and a few minutes later you’d get a funny, or inspiring, hand-painted image. I loved it.

So, what IS a blog, then? Here’s the answer (translation below the photo):

Was ist ein Blog?

“A blog is a green monster with fangs and tentacles that lives in the toilet.” (The monster thinks: “I can wait…”)

Created, most probably, by my office friend and office mate Matthias Pflügner, who I guess suspected it was me asking. (You couldn’t see who was inside the box from the outside, or vice versa. Inside were usually three illustrators, and the style looks very familiar indeed.)

Berlinblase is back

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Berlinblase.deWith Barcamps abound and the Web2Expo just around the corner, it’s time to once more kick off a few side projects. One I’m particularly fond of is Berlinblase. (I hinted at it here.) Johannes Kleske was so kind to write up a neat brief summary, so please allow me to simply quote at length:

Yep, we’re back! After our first attempts with rather spontaneous group-mashup blogging for the Berlin web week (Barcamp Berlin 2 and Web 2.0 Expo) last year, we intend to take it to a new level this time. Tumblr is awesome and helped us to get things started but we want more. And WordPress looked so damn hot … that’s why we set up this new group blog. Content-wise we will cover a lot more then last year, starting today with the Barcamp in Stuttgart. Look to the top right for a list of all the main events we will be bubbling from. We will still aggregate all the interesting articles, pics and media bits about these events. But we will also bring you a lot more original content and personal opinions from our crew, flavored with tasty podcasts, spicy interviews and of course, delicious live twittering. As you know, we are very passionate about the various spheres x.0. We have met some of the most amazing people and found truly mind blowing ideas in ‘this thing’ we affectionately call “the bubble 2.0”. We love to hype the cool stuff like crazy. But we will also call you out if you give us BS ;-) So, a hot new season of conferences and barcamps is upon us and we will try to be your inside source. But most of all we’re looking forward to meet as much of you guys as possible. Because in the end, we’re in this for the friendships and yes, the cold ones with old and hopefully many, many new friends. Keep on bubbling! Peace.