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This is where you'll find an eclectic mix of what makes me tick. Suffolk based, pig rearing (sometimes Vegan). If it's not online it doesn't exist. Bandwidth is a basic human right.

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    Suffolk Twestival 2011: Please join the Community

    The year has flown by since 2010’s Suffolk Twestival  held in Bury St Edmunds. I joined-in at the very last minute and helped drum up a bit of support. For me, attending was a defining moment in our lives (having relocated to Suffolk from London 6 months previously) - I have to say that the people I met that evening and continue to meet through their Twitter social network have been amazing. I’m truly honoured today to call so many my friends.

    Twestival was conceived by a lovely person called Amanda Rose a few years back when Twitter was just an emerging social networking platform and it was the serious early adopters who saw its potential. She organised a bunch of Twitter folk (Tweeps) to get together in a central London venue and raise money for charity. Amanda best describes Twestival’s origins and how the Twitter community was mobilised- together raising a staggering $1.2m to date!

    Talking Suffolk, the turnout in 2010 was modest (but of wonderful quality- for instance our guest speaker was Jamie Riddell ) and it feels as if Twitter has “gone mainstream” in Suffolk since then! - that’s why we’ve set ourselves a regional fund raising target of £5,000 and I feel with everyone’s help we can support all the wonderful volunteer work our Suffolk Twestival Regional co-ordinator continues to put into the day’s events- she’s the wonderfully organised and inspring Emma Jell to whom we owe many thanks!

    For those of you who’ve heard me speak evangelically on social media, you’ll know that I attempt to demystify social media and social networking tools by encouraging you to think of them as community tools. These tools help us restore and extend our sense of community (an old fashioned concept that I feel we’ve all lost to a certain degree). Twitter restores the sense of community - it works, trust me!

    Twestival is also about community and this year we are fortunate to have the opportunity to raise funds for a local Suffolk Based Charity. Twestival HQ has given us the go ahead to raise money for The Suffolk Foundation and specifically for their Suffolk Disability Care Fund: a fund that awards grants to disabled Suffolk residents who may not otherwise have support from  the NHS, Suffolk County Council or other statutory providers. Clearly, with all the recent pressures on funding, a gap that desperately needs plugging.

    I’m going to be sharing my experiences in the run-up to the event on 24 March, when I’m looking forward to meeting some of the recipients of past funding and interview the Development Director of The Suffolk Foundation to name a few - all the content will be posted on the Suffolk Twestival social media presence.

    A group of us have got together and donated time and various other things in the quest to reach our fundraising target and to help the disabled in need in Suffolk.

    Thursday 24th March promises to be a fun-filled day of community. The Suffolk Digital community has got together and will be holding events (all proceeds to Twestival). Please check out the website for further details. The day culminates in an evening event at The Brewery Tap in Ipswich.

    I’m going to be donating my time between 10am and 3pm and holding a one-on-one Surgery either in Woodbridge or Orford (venue to be confirmed) **UPDATE**: I’m going to be at Pump Street Bakery in Orford and you’re welcome to hit me with your most challenging questions. If you need to know a little bit more about me - have a read through my profile on my business site, Any Other Business. I’m happy to talk to you about business models, process, technology,  growth strategy and social media (amongst others). I’m sure my independent perspective on your business will be valuable and is well worth the £25 per half hour session that you’ll have to donate to Suffolk Twestival’s cause.

    Tickets will be available soon and should be purchased from the official Suffolk Twestival page. Once you’ve purchased your tickets please get in touch with me at contact at to schedule a slot between 10 and 3pm.

    Otherwise, as I did last year - I’ll be in touch with local businesses to get them to attend as many of the day’s events as possible and if you can’t make it- hopefully you can make a donation in cash or in kind. Please get in touch if you’d like to help and participate in this fabulous Suffolk Community.

    Tags Community Twitter Charity

    Twitter: Don’t cry wolf. Why Game Changing?

    I caught a retweet from Andrew Gerrard last night when he broadcast Mike Butcher’s tweet about Twitter announcement being a “game changer”. So I waited up until midnight in the UK*

    Prior to the announcement, there was much speculation regarding an acquisition of Twitter by Google which I discounted heavily due to the accepted belief that Twitter won’t sell out (yet). What could be game changing?

    Then I discovered it was some over-hyped release about bringing a new feature to Twitter’s web version. Now are you sitting down? All it turned out to be was Twitter deciding to display embedded media in a new pane to appear next to your tweet-stream. Glory be! Its the sort of feature that user’s should have demanded years ago. How does this impact your life? Well if you use Twitter on the Web then it may enrich your experience, but I use various Apps built on the Twitter API and that means last night’s game-changing news changed nothing in my life.

    Why I am writing this post is more to explain my disappointment. Its a real pity that Google didn’t get hold of Twitter. I just cannot respect Twitter’s tardy development cycle? This combined with their inclination to piss-on the development community whom have been forced to develop applications using the Twitter API. Twitter just appears to be copying these developers. First they brought out their own Twitter app for the iPhone (actually acquired what they thought was the best) and then an iPad app. Then they copied TweetMeme with their Retweet button and now they’re trying to mimic desktop apps. On that subject: does Twitter limit the API calls made by their own apps in the same way as outside developers’ apps? I’m not sure of that answer.

    @Onlygeek, reckons last night’s announcement was about giving them the facility to bombard the web-based twitter user with advertising, a credible analysis in my opinion.He also points out that Twitter can’t reliably advertise in their API stream (filters could be designed to pick these adverts out) - and that’s probably why they’re desperately trying to grab the APP market.

    I just feel Twitter should stick to their own knitting: its not as if they haven’t got loads to do to get the API serving out stable and more frequent calls. Stability and Scalability should be on their agenda. The point of having an API is to allow the nimble, agile and creative development community to listen to the Twitter users and serve up something good. Yet, Twitter seems to have dived into a realm almost ignoring their core development priorities.

    I can just imagine the push and pull in the Twitter boardroom. Their strategy seems so confused. Announcements like the one that Neville Hobson highlighted gives you an insight into their thinking. I am sure Twitter is a social network to most users, Neville. Twitter can position itself all it wants.

    So Twitter, you’ve cried wolf, I won’t be staying up to listen to your “Game-Changing plans” next time. It may have slightly altered the web-based twitter users but frankly hardly game-changing.

    * only to find that Scobleizer’s live stream of the press meeting was flash based so I couldn’t watch it on my iPad and I didn’t stir the house by going downstairs.

    Tags Twitter Geekstuff Web Development Tools Apps

    Mark Shaw: “Why I am not following you on Twitter”

    I first discovered Mark Shaw from one of Francoise Murat’s Retweets drawing my attention to one of his blogposts: “Why I am not following you on Twitter" which frankly is a good piece although its certainly not fresh content.

    I read his blog and then looked at his Twitter profile and read a little more about him on his site. The first thing I noticed from his homepage was his claim to be : of the UK’s leading Twitter experts….

     That ration looks a little unbalanced to me.Then I re-read the blogpost in question (after I noticed he has almost 60 times more followers than people he chooses to follow). I still took absolutely no exception to any advice he gives, yet felt uneasy about this “Twitter expert”. Then I reread the blog title “Why I am not following you on Twitter” that now felt incongruous. Still not being able to put my finger on it, I drilled down into the comments on the post and Stuart Flatt’s comment provided my bingo-moment:

    So Mark, you are actually saying there are only 220 people on the whole of twitter who meet your criteria?

    May I be so bold as to say you you only follow people if you believe there is something in it for you?

    I just read one level of your tweets. And you only have self promotions and @ replies. Again most of the @ replies are talking about yourself or something you have tweeted.

    I had a poke around Mark’s twitter stream and sure enough: Stuart’s spot on:  Mark seems to, most often only engage in conversation with people who initiate conversation with him. Either that or he’s trying to initiate a conversation with an A-List tweep or promote his own business

    Why am I writing this blogpost? Everyone is free to follow who they choose, and I have nothing personal against Mark as I know he puts a lot of effort into helping people in his follower base but that, afterall, is his business and he earns a living from doing it. But all this prompts me to remind myself that Twitter is a community tool. Twitter doesn’t change the rules of community. In the offline world community rules have existed since the year dot. The rules touch the way in which we socialise, listen, help, & recommend. For community to work, it needs to be a bilateral exchange. To me community isn’t only about listening for your name to be called out and then responding. Its not about trying to wrestle in front of the influencers and its also not about trying desperately to be an influencer. Its about having an awareness about the community around you. In my opinion, you can’t do that when you’ve got 12,836 people aware of what you’re saying and only being aware of 222, that’s called one-way arrogance (in my book). As I said in the comments on Mark’s blogpost, celebrities like Duncan Bannatyne get away with it because they don’t write blog posts entitled “Why I am not following you on Twitter”

    And that’s why, Mark,  I am not following *you* on Twitter.

    Tags Twitter Soapbox Twitter Etiquette Word of Mouth

    On FoodSafari in Orford, Suffolk.

    Whilst splashing around in my Twitter stream one Saturday night in March, (as you do when you have young kids) one of Polly Robinson’s tweets grabbed my attention. Who was Polly and What was Food Safari I wondered? Naturally, I looked at her website which showcased their product very well. Being a ‘there-and-then’ kind of a guy (actually it only took 8 minutes), and kindly facilitated by the simple and elegant Food Safari website, a few clicks later and I had booked and paid for our places on the Seafood in a Day course which we attended in the very glorious sunshine last Saturday. I guess I join the ranks of being one of Polly’s Twitter Return on Investment (TROI) case studies!

    Orford is no stranger to my wife and I. When I first arrived on the UK Shores more than a decade ago I gravitated to Suffolk as my Late Great Aunt and Cousins lived in Orford and Woodbridge. My cousin has always had a fishing boat moored at Orford Quay and we have often been up the river most often picnicing on Havergate island.

    The day started when we met at Pinney’s new(ish) quayside shop for a very decent coffee. We walked witha spring in our step: one of those rare times we were childfree, the sun was shining and the day promised an opportunity to understand how Orford and Pinney’s (a business we already knew well) contributed to the reputation that Suffolk is increasingly proud of: being a county known for the quality and diversity of its owner managed foodie offering.

    The first part of the day was spent on the Regardless, a fishing boat that took us up the River Ore. We pulled up Lobster Pots: an experience filled with expectant anticipation. Not a single fruitless pot and, as a Woodbridge resident, I couldn’t help wondering how to get into the Lobster business, for personal consumption only that is! We learnt how to sex crabs and that male Lobsters and Crabs were generally better to eat owing to the size of their claws.

    Peter, the skipper, also pulled up two generously sized Grey Mullet and convinced us that they were as good as Sea Bass. He prepared them on the boat for the barbeque (sadly, the latter lacking onboard the Regardless)

    Our Food Safari continued on land when Bill Pinney talked about the Oyster Beds on the Butley River. Pinney’s is now a third generation family business. In common with many Foodie businesses in Suffolk, the charm and success of the Pinney’s brand appears to be underpinned by the modesty of the business that goes hand in hand with its commitment to quality. Bill talked about their business still being an Artisan business and this was very evident when we were shown around the Smokehouse,the green oak burners still being Bill’s father’s original design.

    Lightly smoked, we left for lunch at Pinney’s restaurant in Orford Market square where we savoured a lunch of several of the Pinney’s delicacies, the highlights, being for me, the Smoked Prawns and Cods Roe. Irene, a member of the Pinney’s team, showed us how to slice a side of Smoked Salmon and showed us the best way of opening an oyster.

    We both thoroughly enjoyed the day out - I’m off on Safari again at the Catch & Cook event later this month. Apart from Food Safari being a business that we certainly can recommend, Polly does a tremendous job evangelising the fabulous foodie reputation of which Suffolk deserves to be proud.

    More photos on Flickr Here

    Tags Twitter Foodie Review Suffolk

    Suffolktweetup: Our Special Guest @jobsworth

    Please welcome JP Rangaswami to Suffolk

    Well, I’m sure many of you who follow @jobsworth on Twitter, will be thrilled to hear that he’s coming to our tweetup on Thursday (see below for details)

    We’ve been meaning to meet for sometime now and JP is working at Adastral Park this week so in our neck of the woods so he’s re-arranged his schedule to join us on Thursday night.

    Why am I blogging this? Well, I do not make a habit of this kind of stuff but I have followed JP since my early twitter career and he’s always made my stream a lovely place to be. So I wanted to thank him. His twitter bio says it all:

    Passionate about things I care about

    The diversity of his passions is extensive, probably because he cares about so much and his tweets are always a fine example to all of us:  all that should apply to both our online and offline lives. He is always kind, approachable, caring and very sincere.

    JP introduced me to the appauling mess of the, now, Digital Economies Act and I follow his blog keenly.  From his tweetstream you’ll see many culinary delights, he’s changed the way I BBQ for instance, and I’ve felt I’ve attended a few concerts together and he’s definitely broadened my exposure to some fab music.

    JP, Looking forward to meeting you tomorrow and thank you for sharing so much.

    Tweetup Details

    Apologies in advance if I have not gone about this officially or if I have stepped on any toes but technically I only picked up on Gemma/@Roundaboutmag's suggestion and was selfserving enough to suggest a date before we go on holiday and a venue in Woodbridge, just up the road from us. ;-)  Anyway, a whole bunch of us are meeting up at The Angel in Woodbridge this Thursday 10th June at 8pm, although many arriving earlier.

    I’ll do my best to keep on track of the tweets and update the attendance list below:

    @roundaboutmag, @jobsworth, @adrianmelrose, @fiswaff, @spudballoo, @melrosemutt, @jamieriddell, @abisignorelli, @janehamerton , , @solebaycheeseco, + 2 others keen to join twitter.

    Update: also @shopkeeperswife (if your name is not on this list either tweet me - @adrianmelrose or comment below on this post!) would be good to know numbers to help Chris @angelwoodbridge

    Tags Twitter Suffolktweetup

    The Jolly Sailor, Orford for A Jolly Tweet-Up

    The Jolly Sailor was one of the several Suffolk Tweeps (see below) that I approached for donations to the Bury St Edmunds Twestival the other night and Gordon Williams, the relatively new Landlord, kindly donated a whopping great £100 voucher for meals and accommodation adding “I don’t care if they use the whole thing for a massive piss-up”

    Gordon isn’t (YET) on twitter although he’s open to the idea of tweeting. He should follow the excellent example set by Carl Bennett (@solebaycheeseco) who tweets in his cheese stall at the Jolly Sailor on Sundays (He’s opening a more permanent shop at the Jolly Sailor and building work is commencing soon which is fantastic news)

    I’ve been asked by a handful of Suffolk based people to run them through twitter, “..cause they don’t get it’. So I thought I’d ask for a little help from the tweeps around Suffolk…

    Gordon has kindly given us a room in the Jolly Sailor this Wednesday and has told us the first drink is on him! I’ll make sure that we have wifi sorted. Apart from it being “a Jolly” we need to accomplish two things: 1) Help those with questions and contribute to an informal presentation on how to get tweeting 2) Ensure Gordon closes the pub tweeting.

    Please leave a comment below if you plan to come so we know who to expect or if you’re on twitter let me know if that’s easier.

    Let’s meet from 7pm on Wednesday 31st March 2010 and if you don’t know where the Jolly Sailor is you should be ashamed. You can find it close to the Quay in Orford.

    And for those new to all of this: “Tweet-Up” is obviously a play on meet-up, and tweeps are twitter people (some people call them twits) ;-)

    So far expect to see:

    @adrianmelrose , @fiswaff , @conservebooks , @solebaycheeseco , @melrosemutt

    Tags Twitter Suffolk

    Come on Suffolk, Twestival needs you…. like you need Twitter.

    Twitter has transformed our lives in many ways. Here’s your chance to transform others’ by attending the Twestival gathering in Bury St Edmunds tomorrow night.

    Since moving from London to Woodbridge, in Suffolk (and getting back into the social media circles after being ill for some time), I’ve been amazed at the number of individuals and businesses in Suffolk who’ve realised the value of Twitter. Ashamedly, I didn’t expect the uptake to be nearly as solid as London’s. I was wrong.

    Take @foodsafariuk for example. Their offering is right up my street and I just would not have been aware of this fab business until i was convinced by one of Polly’s tweets on Saturday night… and booked (there and then) for my wife and I to attend their Seafood in a day course in July. (Polly, if you are reading this: any chance of some support for @bsetwestival from Food Safari, please?!, I did try and ring you earlier ;-) )

    But, Suffolk tweeps…. I am a little disappointed, thus far: doesn’t look like nearly enough of you are supporting Twestival, a charitable gathering of the Twitter community- it happens wordwide but through local gatherings, Suffolk’s is tomorrow night, Thursday 25th March in Bury St Edmunds. Sadly, so far I can only see around 20 people signed up to attend?

    These are the 5 main reasons you need to register to attend right now and if possible donate something to the cause by getting in touch with @bsetwestival

    1. You get to meet fellow suffolk ‘tweeps’ face-to-face. This really takes your experience on twitter up a level. After all, Twitter is a social networking tool and has a tremendous sense of community to it.

    2. Its one of the very few large fundraising events in which the bulk of the admin costs are carried by all the wonderful people and donors.

    3. If you’re a Suffolk business, its a great way of meeting people who can help you grow your business at the same time as getting some good exposure

    4. Jamie Riddell is the guest speaker and we’re gathering in a superb venue.

    5. Your support will go far to support the work of Concern Worldwide.

    Now, I do understand there are differences in the demographics of the Suffolk tweeps in that there’s probably a fair distance to travel and that a lot of us have young families etc… but if you can’t grace us with your physical presence then please grace us with some dosh or something from your business. I’ve had a few hours to spare today and I’m rallying around recruiting attendees and donations. I am sorry to badger you all, but its really a great cause and Suffolk shouldn’t look weak compared to all the other regions… it wouldn’t be right! So keep posted to my twitter stream.

    About Concern Concern Worldwide is an international humanitarian organisation dedicated to reducing suffering and ending extreme poverty. Since the beginning, over 40 years ago, our focus has been on improving the lives of the poorest people.

    Tags Twitter Geekstuff Charity Suffolk