Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

Blogger dinner

Monday, December 15th, 2008

Or lunch, depending on how you time it. I am looking forward to meeting the faces behind the blogs tomorrow, and having some wine and umm, food. Those attending (Hi everyone!):

Niall Harbison (Thanks for organising!)
Joe Scanlon
John Keyes
Suzy Byrne
Conor Lynch
Sean Fee
Christine Coen
Lar Veale
Dee Murphy
Robin Blanford
Laura Daly
Andrew Deegan
John McA Williams
Joe Drumgoole
Mike Kelly
Marcus Mc Innes
Niamh Redmond
Emilly Tully


Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

Today I officially finished my time as an undergraduate at University College Cork. I was conferred with a Joint Honours Degree in Politics and History.

Starting university in 2005 coincided naturally with a decline in my output both in print and here on the blog. Perhaps now I will find my mojo again! :-)

I would like to thank the loyal readers (you know who you are) who have stuck with me over the last three years. I have a huge amount of catching up to do, and perhaps a good place for me to start is to look at writing more about the stuff I bookmark on delicious every day. If you are curious about the stuff I come across, do have a nose.

Cervical cancer Facebook groups hits 10,000 members

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

The original target for membership has been met (just about). The Facebook group now has 10,000 members after just over two weeks of existence. Membership contribution has been significant, with 164 wall posts, posted videos and dozens of links to newspaper stories.

The group has been covered, or mentioned by, TV3, the Irish Times, the Irish Examiner, the Irish Independent, the Belfast Telegraph, the Evening Herald and the Daily Mirror.

I have run an extensive advert campaign to achieve higher membership, and as far as I can tell from the stats, it has been highly successful. Membership growth (these are ballpark figures taken towards the end of each day). The invited numbers are also estimated, as Facebook does not show number of invites once it passes 6,000.

November 12: 255 members, 1,760 invited
November 13: 1,012 members, 5,534 invited
November 14: 2,122 members, 6,000+ invited
November 15: 2,987 members, 6,000+ invited
November 16: 3,815 members, 6,000+ invited
November 17: 5,685 members, 6,000+ invited
November 18: 5,900 members, 6,000+ invited
November 19: 6,850 members, 6,000+ invited
November 20: 7,120 members, 6,000+ invited
November 21: 7,450 members, 6,000+ invited
November 22: 7,567 members, 6,000+ invited
November 23: 7,900 members, 6,000+ invited
November 24: 8,100 members, 6,000+ invited
November 25: 8,464 members, 6,000+ invited
November 28: 8,938 members, 6,000+ invited
November 29: 9,245 members, 6,000+ invited
November 30: 9,400 members, 6,000+ invited
December 1: 9,500 members, 6,000+ invited
December 2: 9,700 members, 6,000+ invited
December 3: 10,000 members, 6,000+ invited.

To my knowledge, this makes the group that largest ever Ireland-specific single issue group ever. As you can see, in the first week of the campaign, 1,000 people were joining per day.

Furthermore it has led to people who joined the group going on to organise events off their own bat, inspired by events organised by the admins. Shauneen is organising a candlelit vigil for the Dáil on December 10th at 6.30pm. On foot of that vigil, a member in Cork is organising a similar event there. Another one in Limerick is also in the works.

Blogging has its place in campaigns like this one, and so does Facebook. But you have to say that Facebook is a great tool for this particular type of cause – and no doubt we will see a lot more like it in future. I guess the question is – where is this use of technology leading us, and second, how can the blogosphere contribute?

Fuck these fuckers

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

I have to say, this is one of the best Daily Show clips I’ve seen this year. John Oliver tells it like it is about the Mumbai attacks.

Via Dan.

Colbert verus Kanye

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

Dog licence windup on 96fm

Friday, November 28th, 2008

I remember hearing this when it was broadcast back in the 1990s. Great to see it on YouTube. Pure hilarity.

Via Cian.

Richard Branson on Twitter

Friday, November 28th, 2008

I think Twitter just went mainstream.

George Lee pitches the Segway

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

Yes it was rather comical.

Cervical cancer

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

The extended interview:

Nothing I can add. Join the 7,500 people on the Facebook group demanding the cervical cancer vaccine programme is reinstated.

Mark Cuban sued

Monday, November 17th, 2008

Blogger billionaire Cuban is being sued by the SEC over alleged insider trading. An interesting turn of events given his involvement in

Mr. Cuban stated, “I am disappointed that the Commission chose to bring this case based upon its Enforcement staff’s win-at-any-cost ambitions. The staff’s process was result-oriented, facts be damned. The government’s claims are false and they will be proven to be so.”

I wonder how he will fare.

Cervical cancer vaccine Facebook group

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

I’ve been helping Red Mum out with her Facebook group on the cervical cancer vaccine debacle. The figures are nothing short of staggering.

In just over 30 hours the group has gone from 1 member to nearly 900. The number of invites has gone from 300 to more than 5,000 in the same time period. Wall posts, many of them quite personal, now number 34.

At current levels of participation, the group should reach 10,000 in a few weeks, an unprecedented uptake for an Irish specific group. The ad promoting the group on Facebook has been displayed more than 50,000 times.

I fully support Red Mum in her efforts to get this nonsensical decision reversed, and look forward to the Government changing its mind.


Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

This picture sums up my memories of DC pretty well, what a relaxing time I had there. Chicago was just a bit crazier.


Back again

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

To the other side of the Atlantic. I guess I would call my trip eventful.


Friday, November 7th, 2008

Gerry has pointed out that I somehow managed to call the US election back in January. I remembered one of those posts, but not the other two. My most clear cut prediction was in April. I guess I was reasonably confident throughout the year that Obama would win, as were many people I expect.

I was only slightly worried in the two weeks prior to the weekend after the September 11 shift in poll numbers – Obama was on the back foot for a good two weeks, in polls, and being on the defensive in the media.

On Sep 11 the Obama campaign said they would shift gear up until election day, and that they did. Lipstick on a pig was quickly forgotten and from about September 17 to November 4, McCain was almost entirely on the defensive. He never recovered from it.

The last week was an incredible experience. I watched Obama speak in Virginia Beach, I drove with Conor Ryan from the Irish Examiner, from Washington DC to Cleveland Ohio (video interview of that to be uploaded), where I again got to watch Obama speak, after some songs from Bruce Springsteen.

Two days later and we were in Chicago’s Grant Park to watch history being made, and Oprah use a port-a-loo for the first time in her life. Along the way I went out for some (lots of) beers, and met some really nice people, including Fergal Keane from RTE, Chris Donoghue from Newstalk 106, Lise Hand from the Irish Independent, and two Italian film makers, Fabio and Francesco, who were kind enough to let us shack up with them in Chicago (check out their site, they have some brilliant videos, including many exclusives). There were also the kind ladies from the State Department, Elia and Babs, who could not have been more helpful and friendly.

It was though an incredibly long day, which meant walking around, or standing around in various places, in Chicago for a straight 24 hours. And I have blisters to prove it. I also forgot to eat anything, but I guess it didn’t matter. It was all worth it, and I’m glad I predicted back in April that Obama would win, because that was when I decided to go to the US for the result.

Why I blog

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Andrew Sullivan in the latest edition of the Atlantic.

An interesting observation about paper:

The points of this essay, for example, have appeared in shards and fragments on my blog for years. But being forced to order them in my head and think about them for a longer stretch has helped me understand them better, and perhaps express them more clearly. Each week, after a few hundred posts, I also write an actual newspaper column. It invariably turns out to be more considered, balanced, and evenhanded than the blog. But the blog will always inform and enrich the column, and often serve as a kind of free-form, free-associative research. And an essay like this will spawn discussion best handled on a blog. The conversation, in other words, is the point, and the different idioms used by the conversationalists all contribute something of value to it. And so, if the defenders of the old media once viscerally regarded blogging as some kind of threat, they are starting to see it more as a portal, and a spur.

There is, after all, something simply irreplaceable about reading a piece of writing at length on paper, in a chair or on a couch or in bed. To use an obvious analogy, jazz entered our civilization much later than composed, formal music. But it hasn’t replaced it; and no jazz musician would ever claim that it could. Jazz merely demands a different way of playing and listening, just as blogging requires a different mode of writing and reading. Jazz and blogging are intimate, improvisational, and individual—but also inherently collective. And the audience talks over both.

The reason they talk while listening, and comment or link while reading, is that they understand that this is a kind of music that needs to be engaged rather than merely absorbed. To listen to jazz as one would listen to an aria is to miss the point. Reading at a monitor, at a desk, or on an iPhone provokes a querulous, impatient, distracted attitude, a demand for instant, usable information, that is simply not conducive to opening a novel or a favorite magazine on the couch. Reading on paper evokes a more relaxed and meditative response. The message dictates the medium. And each medium has its place—as long as one is not mistaken for the other.

In fact, for all the intense gloom surrounding the news-paper and magazine business, this is actually a golden era for journalism. The blogosphere has added a whole new idiom to the act of writing and has introduced an entirely new generation to nonfiction. It has enabled writers to write out loud in ways never seen or understood before. And yet it has exposed a hunger and need for traditional writing that, in the age of television’s dominance, had seemed on the wane.

Words, of all sorts, have never seemed so now.