• 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

  • 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

  • Time For A Social Media Detox

    You’d better accept it now: your January detox is bound to fail. The British Liver Trust has described short-term New Year abstinence as ‘medically futile’, but we don’t need scientists to tell us that attempting to embrace salads and spinning classes at what is possibly the darkest, coldest and

  • Social Commerce Comes Of Age

    Social commerce – where the act of shopping becomes seamlessly embedded in the creation, sharing and consumption of social media content – has always been the pot of gold at the end of the social media rainbow. According to McKinsey, word of mouth drives 20-50% of purchase decisions, so ena

  • Why Every Writer Needs A Group

    “Writing, at its best, is a lonely life,” said Ernest Hemingway, whose idea of a great social life involved a remote cabin, dead animals, and the bottom of a brandy glass. “Organizations for writers palliate the writer’s loneliness but I doubt if they improve his writing.”

    Isaac

  • The Zen Of Social Media

    Two years ago, I went on a 10-day silent retreat at a Buddhist monastery in the middle of the Thai jungle. One morning at 5am, in the first of the day’s meditation sessions, with bites on my arms from the spiders I wasn’t allowed to kill and cramps in my stomach from the food I wasn’t allowed to

  • Big Is Still Beautiful

    Studies by various impressive-sounding academics have shown that, thanks to a multi-tasking whirl of texting, tweeting, one-click buying, email checking (on average 30 times an hour) and – oh, look, a butterfly! – our reading habits are officially rubbish. Statistics verified by the Associ

  • Writing On Writing

    It is a well-worn truism that all novel-writing advice boils down to a handful of simple tenets. Show, don’t tell. Cut adjectives. Kill your darlings. Get in late, and out early. Read your work aloud. Don’t give up your day job, you masochistic fantasist; don’t you know that publishing is

  • The Real Value Of Books

    Do you think Dickens should cost more than Dan Brown? Do you approach a 99p ebook with a different mentality to a £10 hardback? And does a soy latte really have more impact on your life than a book? The value of literature – not in the sense of soul-stirring, brain-pimping, culture-cementing

  • Self-Help Fiction

    Hi. My name is Molly and I’m a self-help addict. Although I avoid anything involving diets, doctrines and fist-pumpers in suits, recent, beautifully written pop-psychology classics as Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts and Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit have given me a social

  • Digtial-Only Imprints: Inclusive or Cynical?

    Poor old big-name publishers. Stick to your guns by insisting on the value of your traditional, print-centric gatekeeping, and you’ll be shunted straight to the top of the endangered species list. Pander to the plebs by putting a fancy cover on fan fiction, and you’ll be decried as an opportunis