My top 3 things to think about in 2016

My top 3 things to think about in 2016

For some reason a few folks have asked me what I think the year ahead will bring, we also did our annual look ahead review at work for which I submitted a few “things to watch” for 2016… I’m not calling this predictions, just things I think anyone working in social/digital need to think about next year:

1) Ad-mageddon – the continuing rise in ad-blockers (see previous ad-blocker post) will make the move from tech-savvy folks to the mass population – IAB research suggests the rate of growth is accelerating: from 15% in June to 18% in Nov.

As this continues, how will it affect your digital strategy going forward? Are you targeting the right people, given which demographics are more/less likely to block? How will the decline in advertising revenue affect news sites/blogs and others who rely on this source of income? Would your ads pass as “Acceptable Ads“?

2) Private messaging apps rule the world!

We’re already seeing WhatsApp and Snapchat dominate in younger markets, private/ephemeral messaging continues to be popular with news organisations already using it to share stories and gather content.

Are you using it personally and as a business? (most answer yes and no… that says a lot) Have you considered the safeguarding considerations of using a service like these, allowing for direct and possibly untraceable communication with your customers/supporters? How does this affect social listening if you can’t see it? If I was WhatsApp I’d launch paid-for corporate WhatsApp accounts (ie not dependent on a mobile number) with a tool to monitor/interact with your customers for support etc – that’d be the Twitter killer in some ways and a great revenue stream.

3) Facebook video – the YouTube Strikes Back!

Well I had to fit in a Star Wars reference somewhere…  with Facebook pushing hard to own social video content I think two things will happen soon:

1) We must be close to a crunch point of Facebook being sued by content creators who’s original work is copied and shared on Facebook. I frequently see the same thing, without attribution, being posted by different Facebook pages – if you make a living from views on YouTube and your views are disappearing, what would you do? What action would you take if your content was used in this way? Given that it often takes 2-3 days for take down requests to be actioned, which is too late for something that has gone viral – is it watermarked or has clear branding on it?

2) YouTube as a channel fights back – I’m not sure how this might happen or what they can do… if people are on FB, using FB video… but perhaps we’ll see new distribution partnerships or formats – will we see channels tied in to YouTube exclusives?

That’s it. Love to know your thoughts and things you’re keeping a close eye on – Happy New Year y’all!

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Project BBTA a year on

Project BBTA a year on

Wow. It feels like so long ago that I wrote my Project BBTA post.

One year on, where have I got to?

Well for one, I’m back in my normal shoes!

I’ve cycled Land’s End to John O’Groats (see LEJOG947) raising over £3k in the process and in the main I’m back on track.


For the foreseeable future I’m on drugs to keep the joints under control, they mean I can’t drink (alas no uncle jack for me) but that’s OK.

I’ve got to do some cool things at work like this:

More importantly, there’s a new star wars coming out and it looks good!

Thanks for all your help and support along the way, pretty much we bought back the awesome(ness).

Next up, moving house and another challenge….

(the -ness is just for you Philly!)

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Thoughts on ad-blocking and why I’ve now gone to the dark side

Thoughts on ad-blocking and why I’ve now gone to the dark side

This weekend I moved to what some might call the dark side – I’ve installed an ad-blocker extension on my laptop and an ad-blocking browser on my phone.

Now I know some will say “what took you so long?” and others “the web will die without ads”… I have friends who work on ad-supported sites, so I felt at the least I owed them an explanation why.

I’m not opposed to adverts online, they form a vital part of funding for many websites but recently they’ve crossed a line, exhibit A:


An advert that stopped me from reading the content until I completed some ridiculous “quiz”, made even more inappropriate when it was a work-related news piece I was trying to read as part of my job.

Just so we’re clear: Dear Cadbury, this ad has absolutely guaranteed I will never buy this product ever.

And the real kicker… Monday night, I was returning from the excellent Dare Conference in London when tragically the train in front of us hit someone on the line.

Picture the scene…. we’ve just learnt that someone has died and have no idea when we’ll move on from Brockenhurst… I’m sat in the quiet carriage trying to work out when I’m likely to get home and finding out what I can about the incident… a news site starts auto-playing the audio of some pleb football commentator ranting on. No, just no.

And so I started looking at ad-blockers and I found out about the Acceptable Ads Manifesto used by some of them:

  1. Acceptable Ads are not annoying.

  2. Acceptable Ads do not disrupt or distort the page content we’re trying to read.

  3. Acceptable Ads are transparent with us about being an ad.

  4. Acceptable Ads are effective without shouting at us.

  5. Acceptable Ads are appropriate to the site that we are on.

Now that was something I could support and so I installed the Adblocker Plus extension for Chrome and the browser for my mobile – something that wasn’t really a factor for me, that has also been interesting, is the time to load pages has got noticeably quicker.

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LEJOG947 – this time it’s personal

It’s less than 12 weeks till LEJOG947 – cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats…. here’s an FAQ of sorts:

1) Isn’t that the wrong way, it’s all downhill if you start in Scotland isn’t it?

No, no it’s not. For one, prevailing winds in the UK are SW so it’s into the wind, for another the day with the most climbs is the first/last day in Cornwall and finally logistically it’s easier to get back from JOG (courier collects bikes, we get a train to Inverness then fly to Bournemouth) and be dropped off in Land’s End.

Finally NO. We start around sea level and end around sea level, don’t be a moron.

2) WHY?

I’ve always wanted to do it, having cycled loads my whole life. I wanted to raise some money for CALM and raise the profile of the work they do.

3) Are you staying in hotels each night, that’s not too hard… is it?

Nope, we’re carrying all our own kit and camping. Because we’re bad ass.

3) If I make a donation it’s just paying you to go on a holiday cycling about for 2 weeks right?

Nope EVERY penny goes to CALM or the RNLI, which are our chosen charities – my lead charity is CALM who do great work to promote male mental health issues – every cost has come out of my pocket.

4) I’m broke, can I help in other ways?

Yes, join me on a training ride and encourage me not to lose my way: eat badly, miss training, stay out late etc!

Training is going ok, I’ve clocked up around 600 miles so far this year and have a plan in place, this weekend’s ride was tough but has only toughened my training resolve.

I’ll be posting updates on twitter, instagram and on the donation page.

Bring it!

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