• How Publishing Can Disrupt Technology


    What is the most exciting technology currently disrupting the publishing industry?

    That was the question I found myself pondering last weekend as I sat amongst a bunch of aspiring and established authors, traditional and indie publishers, founders of literary startups, agents, editors,

  • Resisting The Lure Of Social Media Singularity

    In times of stress, I get monolithic. Shades of grey skitter to the edges of my mind like iron filings, exposing a chilly monochrome cave. As adrenaline dissolves ambiguity, decisions get stuck. I don’t want one thing or another, I want one thing: one definitively right thing, because then I know

  • Counting Farts: In Pursuit Of The Quantified Self

    Every time I see someone running down the street with a sexy little Jawbone strapped to their wrist, I can’t help but think of farts.

    #484346873 / gettyimages.com

    In Samuel Beckett’s 1951 novel Molloy, the eponymous hero – a former vagrant now living with his mother – recalls the day whe

  • 7 Things Every Twenty-First Century Writer Should Do

    Writing can be a lonely business, and the fragmentation of the publishing industry can leave aspiring authors feeling unsure as to whether they’re got more or less opportunity of getting their work read than ever before.

    Last weekend’s 

  • Shaping A Satisfying Writing Life

    If there was one statement that summarised last weekend’s Writing In the Digital Age conference, the annual event produced at Farringdon’s Free Word Centre by the Literary Consultancy, it was that voiced by Orna Ross, founder of the Alliance of Independent Authors, during a self-publishing panel c

  • What Makes A Good Social Strategy?

    What does a good social strategy look like?

    As one of the judges of the Warc Prize for Social Strategy, which has just named AMV BBDO’s ‘Doritos Mariachi’ Facebook campaign ‘the world’s best social strategy’, you’d think I might have my answer down pat. But after four months spent arguing the mer

  • How Social Media Is Coming Full Circle

    Last month, I took seven days’ holiday, in a remote cottage on the Suffolk coast. There was no phone signal. I switched off the WiFi. I cooked some locally caught fish. Then I sat in front of the log burner and read The Circle, Dave Eggers’ controversial Google satire.

    Eggers is a star of con

  • The Gnarly Art Of The Social Brief

    What is the single common thing that drives every social media strategy? A belief in the power of word of mouth? People? Measurable objectives? Facebook?

    Nope. It’s the brief. Whether created by a planner or a marketer, whether served to an agency or an internal team, the brief is the genesis of

  • The Power Of Strangers

    The image shows a young man leaning against a marble bannister in Grand Central. He is wearing a beanie and a straggly beard, with a skateboard in one hand and a bottle in the other. He looks half-hopeful, half-resigned. The caption above reads: “I told her that if she wanted to start over, to meet

  • Social Media Needs Strong Brands

    Hands up if you hate the term ‘brand’. Yep. I thought so. The word originally comes from the Old Norse ‘brandr’ – the practice of stamping hot metal symbols on livestock – and the etymological whiff of brutality still lingers. Brands stink of globalized uniformity, of slick corporate

  • Scarlett Johansson Gets Under The Skin

    Velcro books. You probably have a few: those quiet, quirky novels that you relentlessly recommend. They’re not blockbusters; you most likely stumbled across them by chance. And although you find it difficult to describe precisely why you find them so compelling, you just want other people to h

  • Are You A Junk News Addict?

    It’s Sunday morning, and in an uninspiring lecture hall somewhere in the boondocks of Bloomsbury, bestselling popular philosopher Alain de Botton is teaching us how to read a newspaper. He brings up a slide showing a photograph of a glacier crumbling into the sea, then flicks to a photograph o