Jukebox: Offline Dropbox Music Player

Rummaging around on Product Hunt, I stumbled upon Jukebox. It’s an iOS app that enables you to download music saved to Dropbox and listen via a sleekly designed player.

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There’s a couple of cool things to note here: first how simple the UI is.

It’s very Spotify-esque in look and feel, which means it is instantly accessible to folks who like streaming.

Secondly this could be a very neat way for music bloggers to stay on top of all the tracks they get sent.

Dropbox and Soundcloud are the de facto choice for receiving tracks to review so any app or tool that can make that interaction simpler is going to be welcomed.

Additionally, James Zhang, one of the folks behind the app said in response to a comment:

…we’re actually working on adding a private sharing feature so that you can share a song with a friend through a text link and they can stream to preview the song or download it straight to their own Jukebox.

This would be a great piece of functionality to incorporate as it will make music-sharing that little bit easier.

I urge you to download it on iOS and see for yourself!

Social Media: Do Whatever You Please

Sally Whittle blogged today about the etiquette of connection in social media. She posed the question: Should social media be reciprocal?

It’s a question that’s difficult to answer initially. You follow someone on Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest (etc) because you enjoy the pictures, links or opinions they’re sharing and you hope they’ll take notice, see that you’re like-minded, and follow you back.

Saying that, when someone you do not know offline or online starts following you, your first instinct is to see who they are and to try and work out why they have made that connection. You then have to decide whether or not to follow them in return.

That process can be easy, or it can be tricky. If you follow them and enjoy what they’re posting over a long period of time, everyone’s a winner. If you choose not to follow them, they may not notice, or they might even unfollow.

*Worse case scenario klaxon*

You follow them for a while, decide, actually, this isn’t for you, and unfollow. They then unfollow you back immediately.

Nobody wants to be that person who loses a follower within a few tweets.

Then again, what does it matter? The question you should always be asking is: does following this person lead me to regular positive interaction?

If the answer is no, there should be no qualms about removing them from your digital life – there’s so much stuff going on online to keep up with, the last thing you need is clutter in your timeline.

You can always follow them back later if you change your mind.

Sometimes in real life, you need to be selfish and make decisions that benefit you in the long term as much as they
affect the people around you.

You should take that approach digitally too. I’m unfollowed, followed, and unfollowed all the time. I figure people dip in and out of what I’m sharing. That’s cool, it probably gets boring a lot of the time. If you were to read every tweet or post I published you’d get bored. Hell, I get bored.

But that’s the wonderful thing about social media, you can consume what you want, when you want, by whom you like, whenever you like.

And with that, I leave you with this:

The Rise of Infrequent Blogging

As Danny Wong noted in a blog post on The Next Web yesterday, Infrequent blogging can be a great way of making sure your voice is heard when attention is harder to hold than ever before. People want quality content and posting too much can dissuade your audience from returning.

It’s a theory that flies against the notion of posting regular content to keep in constant contact with your community.

By posting every now and then, rather than every day, you are signposting that the ideas you are trying to communicate are thought through and of real value to your readers.

This can be just as effective when trying to retain readership – hopefully your content’s every word will be clung onto, rather than dismissed because it’s just like every other set of words you’ve written.

Typically, we used to advise clients to post once a week as a minimum: stay connected and share an insight into your business or way of tackling a problem that will resonate to build your community.

This has now evolved, as time and resource become scarcer: blog as and when you can, but make sure what you’re sharing is of genuine value – people don’t have the time to read mountains of missives, so make sure yours counts.

The power of the notification has had an effect here too.

Seeing 999 unread blog posts means you’re more likely to hit ‘mark as read’ than seeing 3 unread blog posts. Who wants to plough through 999 pieces of content when you’ve only got time for two?

As we look to have greater worth in the attention economy, it’s beginning to ring true that less is actually more.

And, as if you needed it, Ben Cotton has only recently posted 10 Reasons Why Businesses Should Still Blog. Go read it, and remember why blogging is important in the first place.

A New Blogging Adventure

I’ve been blogging about music and technology since about 2005. Now I’m branching out in to Whisky, coffee and cheese.

I love blogging because it helps me to stay sharp in terms of writing and thinking critically about something that has been created, whether it’s a piece of music, a social media service or a gadget.

I realised a short time ago that I missed blogging for fun. Music reviewing was always a release after I stopped doing it full time, but it can be a real drain when there are other things to be getting on with, like work.

There are so many music blogs which have stepped away from the essence of what they were when they started, or got bought out, that trying to start again and walk into that particular minefield was always going to be tough.

Indeed, just getting a review with them can be a pain in the arse. Hours sending emails to hundreds of folks who claim to be into ‘new music’ or of a ‘DIY aesthetic’ but never even acknowledge you, are hours wasted.

The music blogging community has become so entrenched with it’s own perceived importance that it bears no resemblance to the community I was part of at all.

If I can’t devote time to music blogging, there’s no point; music is so important to me that If I can’t dedicate myself fully to it, then I’d be doing the artists a disservice.

That’s why I’ve decided to try something a bit different.

Malts Beans and Cheese will be a blog that documents my interests in whisky/whiskey, coffee and cheese.

It’ll be a fun distraction which I hope will complement the more serious digital culture compositions on Seldom Seen Kid.

I hope you’ll consider joining me!

Huffington Post UK Biggins To Go Live

The Next Web is reporting that the UK version of the Huffington Post is soon to go live.

A page from Christopher Biggins’ (hence the pun!) column is live and viewable, despite the homepage prompting for a username and password.

Given the global success of the Huffington Post in it’s US incarnation, it’ll be interesting to see if this local-to-the-UK version will be as big a hit.

The move is certainly interesting, keeping in perspective the move by the Guardian and the Observer to stop publishing their International editions, putting them solely online.

It shows that there is still a desire, despite the global nature of news, for a local view, be it on a regional, national or by-town scale.

The editorial standards that have been set by the HuffPo then, make this an interesting move, and with it’s international reputation, one that will be watched the world over as a sign that blogging is still a key format of communication despite the emergence of Twitter et al.

TNW reports that the site is due to go live on Wednesday 6th July.

London Bloggers Meetup: PRs v. Bloggers

The London Bloggers Meetup took place on Wednesday, the PR edition aimed to address concerns and questions about the relationship between bloggers and PRs with a debate featuring representatives of both sides.

UPDATE: In my excitement I forgot to add Edelman sponsored the event :)

Alas, the PR vs. Blogger discussion did not turn out to be the ‘rumble in the jungle’ some had touted it as and was a rather serene affair. Indeed the six strong panel had six bloggers, three of whom are indeed PRs: Stephen Waddington, Cate Sevilla, Chris Osburn, Pete Stean, Lolly and myself (I tried to play devil’s advocate, some things were indeed tongue-in cheek…).

Here’s the points we were looking to address, and my thoughts…

All bloggers welcome pitches from PRs

I disagree – just because a blogger shares their email, doesn’t mean they are inviting pitches. It may well be an invitation for comments and questions that a reader may not necessarily want to publish as a comment. The PR should research the blog and blogger to recognise if they are happy to be pitched, and if it is still not totally clear, an email asking the question could be sent.

PR shouldn’t treat bloggers like journalists

PRs should treat bloggers like people. A blogger may write about a range of topics as they have different passions and enthusiasms, it’s up to the PR to recognise this. A clear way of creating a definition is that, by and large, most bloggers do not get paid to write about their interests. Journalists however earn a salary and are required to fill column inches. A totally different mechanic applies.

Bloggers don’t understand what a PR agency needs

Some bloggers do understand, others don’t and it is not up to them to acknowledge this either way. The PR should make clear from the outset of any correspondence what they require, as this will of course vary on an email by email basis, allowing the blogger to opt-in or out.

PR agencies don’t understand what bloggers need and want

Again, I think this varies, and often from PR to PR rather than by agency. There are some very good PRs who ‘get it’, but there are also many PRs that don’t. it is up to those who do understand digital culture to help those who don’t, learn the behavioural mechanics of the Internet and digital communications or in the very least, be aware of the benefits of using digital as part of a wider communications strategy.

Bloggers and PR agencies would both benefit from industry standard rules of engagement

This is a moot point. The pace at which any regulatory body could organise any such guidelines would be much slower in comparison to the velocity at which the Internet and digital comms moves. It simply would not keep up.

I’d be interested to know your opinions on the above point and what other factors you think are at play.

Cate Sevilla Launches Oh My Blog Workshop

Cate Sevilla, editor of tech and lifestyle blog Bitchbuzz, has launched the Oh My Blog Workshop.

The initial sessions will take place atTechHub, on September 23rd at 19:00.

“Stellar Content and the Dark Side of Blogging”, which is comprised of two, 45 minute long sessions, will feature veteran blogger Natalie Lue as a Guest Mentor.

The workshops will be run with the aim of ‘making your blog better’, helping to grow the already burgeoning London blogging scene into an “unstoppable force of creativity and innovation”.

I was lucky enough to ask Cate a couple of questions about the venture…

What was the catalyst for putting the workshops together?

After spending a lot of time this year talking to various PR companies and brands about blogging, and even teaching at blogging classes that were organized by other companies, I realized I wanted to organize and teach at my own workshops. I’ve learned so much over the last five years of blogging, and specifically from setting up BitchBuzz, and I really want to help others and share what I know. I think there’s a lot to be said for openness and collaboration in any community or industry, and I hope that by the mentors at Oh My Blog sharing what we know and by being open, we can help turn the London blogging community into something really fierce.

Who do you hope will attend the sessions?

Anyone in or around London who has a blog that wants to become as savvy and as knowlesgeable about blogging as they can. They can blog professionally or as a hobby. Our workshops would also be perfect for someone hoping to turn their blog into a business.

Who can get involved in future sessions?

Anyone who works in or is involved in an industry or community relevant to our workshop topics. If you’re interested in becoming a guest mentor or partner, or if you have an idea for a workshop topic, you can email me at CATE at BITCHBUZZ DOT COM

Have you got plans to expand the sessions outside of London?

We would love to! We’ll see how the first three go, and if there are enough people outside of London who would like to attend, this is definitely something we’d be keen to do.

Tickets for “Stellar Content and the Dark Side of Blogging” are now on sale for £15 and you can follow the latest developments on Twitter at @OMBworkshop