My journal

Automated twitter messages – or not?

Often when I start following someone on twitter I receive an automated ‘thank you for the follow‘ message. This seems a good way to introduce your business a little more, and so has set me off on a little bit of research on this subject.

First stop was the twitter community itself. And where I also found the first hurdle: that automation is frowned upon by twitter. and actively discouraged. See thier automation rules at:

But then again, the argument for at least an initial automated response seems persuasive: those that follow you receive and instant pay-off in terms of more detailed information, and a way to connect deeper to you and your twitter stream.

And not only that, this deeper engagement using automated DM’s let’s you do some other cool stuff. You could use it for retweets too. Once someone tweets your article you can do this:

  1. Ask to share your article via other social networks: “Hey @username Thanks a lot for the tweet! I would really appreciate if you could give the post a G+ and “like” as well :)”;
  2. Offer more content: “Thanks for the tweet! Did you also see this article of mine about the same topic? http://link_to_article”;
  3. Offer a product: “Thanks for the tweet! Maybe you’d be interested in taking my free email course at http://link_to_course?”.

Though, as mentioned, twitter automation is a very controversial topic and many people hate it. But you can do really cool things if you get it right.

Here’s an awesome guide to Twitter Automation: Power Guide to Twitter Automation: Tools, Strategies, Ethics

But… as a final note, consider this response by people on the subject of automated DM:

“….please, don’t use an Auto DM.  It’s considered highly douchbaggy.  Twitter is best when you are a person — an authentic one.  Auto DMs is the best way to dispel the idea that you are someone worth engaging with.  I’d unfollow you in a second if you Auto DM-ed me.”

This kind of comment tells you to step back a little and consider all the pros and cons.

My final conclusion to this? I think I will be trying out some automated DM for initial contact – but will be honest about it, and point out that I am human, and will engage directly after fist linking up.

Then again, maybe I’m wrong to do so. What do you think?


Forget the camera. Get out your phone!

Thinking of hiring professional camera gear to make some videos? Read this first. It might save you a fortune, but get you the same end results. Amazing what can be done without the use of high-end cameras and mics.

This article is about Christian Payne, who is a photographer teaching organisations like the BBC, the UN and Al Jazeera how to do in-the-field reporting using mobile phones. He also orders pizza to his train seat.

His tips include on what angle to hold a camera for maximum effect, why to pay attention to your subject’s eyeballs….


….how to set a scene and frame the speaker. In all there are some 26 invaluable lessons to be learnt here. So read the full blog post on fluxx’s website.

Original post by Tom Whitwell is Senior Consultant at Fluxx

View story at

The 15 minute care makeover

Watch this clip from Claire Sweeney’s new exploitative ’15 minute Makeover’ show where a care worker has to get a vulnerable person ready for the day in, you guessed it, just 15 minutes!

Find out more

Unison, the trade union, have released a brilliant new satirical ad to campaign against the indignity of 15 minute care visits for elderly people.  The film is promoting a petition to let the government know that such practises are unacceptable.

The video features actress Claire Sweeney – who puts in an excellent performance – and mimics the format of day-time-TV game shows to dramatise the ridiculousness of the demands made on care workers because of a lack of funds and staffing.

It was created by London ad agency Don’t Panic and has received rave reviews in the advertising industry trade press, winning Campaign Magazine’s Ad of the Week.

The secret to being successful is a lot easier than you think

If you’re reading this in bed after a lie-in don’t worry. Laziness might not be a terrible trait after all.

Michael Lewis, author of The Big Short, told the audience of the Insight Summit that being lazy isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

In fact, it can make you more successful.

Lewis said he doesn’t see laziness as a trait to avoid, because it focuses his efforts on the things that matter.

He explained that he doesn’t feel uncomfortable doing nothing, if nothing has captured his interest – and it’s better to do nothing than waste time trying not to waste time.

Laziness, he said, stops you from wasting time on things that aren’t worth your time.

Read more in the Indie100


Move Fast and Break Things review – Google, Facebook and Amazon exposed

The internet, defined as the network switched on in January 1983, is now 34 years old. When it began, it was a gloriously decentralised, creative, non-commercial system that evoked in many of its early users utopian hopes about liberation, empowerment, creativity and sticking it to The Man. In those heady days, only a few sceptics wondered how long it would take for capitalism to get a grip on it. Now we know: it took only 21 years.

Opinions vary about the timing, of course. For my money, the critical year was 2004, the year Google had its IPO, Facebook was launched and the business model that became known as “surveillance capitalism” really got a grip on the network. This is the model that provides supposedly free services to users in return for “consent” to mine and exploit their personal data and digital trails in order to target adverts at them.

Continue reading:

Me and the economic doughnut

Not wishing to blow my own trumpet (too much)(again), but this article: Finally, a breakthrough alternative to growth economics – the doughnut by George Monbiot is a bit of an ego boost for me.

This brilliant article explains the genius of Kate Raworth‘s thinking about how, if instead of focusing our economy on constant growth – at all costs – a new economic model would allow us to thrive while saving the planet. An idea surely well worth exploring?

Oh, and while at it, the article also gives credit to my work for the illustrations.

The book is now available to buy from book sellers down your High Street – or online though

I wrote an article about the book not too long ago, just before the launch.