The biggest turning point for 2008 occurred on January 4th when I bought a new Nokia 6300 mobile phone which allowed me to carry a source of Internet access in my pocket. This in turn inspired me to join the online micro-blogging site www.Twitter.com …
Like many people I was a doubter of Twitter for a long time, thinking it was a waste of time to keep track of all the small mundane things people say and do all day 24/7.
This is when I realised that Twitter is a tool and how it’s used/misused is up to you. I decided to use it to:
1. Find smart people in industries I’m interested in eg IT/Web/Politics/Old Media/New Media/Science/Finance. Listen to what they have to say and converse with them.
2. Discuss topics I didn’t have time to blog about, link to interesting articles that I read, news/factoids I’ve found and answer other people’s questions as often as possible using my internet research skills.
Thanks to Twitter I’ve been able to learn from, get to know better and have online & in real life conversations with many people including: @stilgherrian (raconteur & occasional Crikey.com.au columnist), @bitethedust (pharmacist working in remote Australian desert), @valeriekhoo (entrepreneur & freelance writer for Fairfax), @lebard (owner of booktagger.com), @IanWoolf (Science broadcaster/physicist), @jdlasica (social web/media junkie), @kcarruthers (IT consultant), @catrionapollard (owner of PR company), @jayrosen_nyu (teaches journalism at NYU), @Scott_Drummond (Malcolm Gladwell look alike), @warrencheetham (Digital Services Librarian) …. amongst countless others
To date a lot people are following what I have to say on Twitter so I must be participating and providing links to useful/interesting information 🙂
As a sidenote: having access to the Internet on my mobile this year allowed me to read newspapers while commuting, waiting in queues etc. The Guardian, New York Times and The Australian have replaced the Sydney Morning Herald and ABC News as the sources I check for breaking news / “newspapers of record”.
Big Events of 2008
Network 10 TV News interviewed me and 2 other Australian Professional Bloggers
Feature photo of me & several quotes in AFR article Play it Safe, Click for Cash
UWS Gradlife magazine interviewed me and published the article “Professional Blogger Hits Big Time” on their front page. I was really proud of this because it’s only been 6 years since I graduated from UWS with my undergraduate Business Computing degree.
I gave a short presentation at the Wordcamp Australia 2008 conference: $US5 Donation to WordPress: the best investment I ever made
Other Interesting Events of 2008 in Date Order
January, February, March
- Attended Google Geek Night Sydney 2008
- Got in touch with David Knox, owner/operator of the leading Australian TV industry news site TV Tonight and had quite a few conversations with him throughout the year including a meeting for lunch when I was visiting Melbourne on a business trip.
- I asked my readers Should We Boycott Chinas 2008 Beijing Olympic Games?.This lead to a contact from Amnesty International Australia’s social media team whose campaign against Chinese Internet Censorship I donated $500 to and helped introduce them to leading people in the Australian blogging & social media community to advance their cause.
April, May, June
- April and May were big months for SEO related events, starting off with leading Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) specialist Aaron Wall writing a guest post on my blog
- I attended the first ever SMX Sydney SEO SEM Conference and successfully followed my Definitive Guide to Maximise Benefits of Conference Attendance because I learnt a lot, made connections with smart and influential people, improved my profile in the Australian SEO community and got 4 links from Searchengineland.com and 2 links from SeoMoz.com :-)Any Aussie SEO’s who didn’t attend SMX Sydney should kick themselves because of the opportunities they missed. I spoke to Adam Lasnik (Google), Gord Hotchkiss (Enquiro), Rand Fishkin (Seomoz), Ciaran Norris (Altogether Digital), Danny Sullivan (Search Engine Land) and many other speakers for 5-15min each, how often do you get an opportunity like that?
- Thanks to the profile I gained from my detailed blog reports on SMX Sydney I got offered a press pass to the e-Marketing & SEO Conference CeBIT Australia 2008 in May
- Attended the Sydney Film Festival for the 1st time and found it quite enjoyable watching: Chasing Birds, Mark and Guys Excellent Digital Adventure and Antarctica: Encounters at the End of the World
July, August, September
- Started working as a casual Information Services Librarian (2 half day shifts/week) at the University of Technology (UTS) Library’s Research Helpdesk – I have a strong customer service ethic, love researching random topics and helping people find information they’re seeking so it’s a great adjunct to working in my own Business the rest of each week as a Professional Blogger & Consultant.
- Trained the staff at a PR/marketing company using my Guide To Twitter Etiquette and Efficient Use To Achieve Your Goals which led to further consultancy work later in the year giving similar training to a major Australian financial services company
- Sony Ericsson Australia asked me to review their new c902 camera phone and join their blogger product review program.
- I used the c902’s camera to take photos as I ran the City 2 Surf – Sydney to Bondi Fun Run
- Thanks to Twitter contact Valerie Khoo I got to review the Sydney Writers Centre Travel Writing Seminar
- Watched PIXAR’s WALL-E – movie of the year in my opinion. WALL-E is a robot movie with heart and soul. Everyone I know who’s watched it, loved it, regardless of their age or whether they usually dislike animated movies. You must watch it 🙂
October, November, December
- Read many great books written by Big Picture Thinkers in the Internet/ Information industry including:
Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations by Clay Shirky and Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything by Don Tapscott.
- Found out that author, newspaper columnist & financial literacy evangelist Scott Pape was a long time reader of my blog! 🙂 He sent me a copy of his book The Barefoot Investor: 5 Steps to Financial Freedom to review and I might do some consulting work for him in the future.
- I’m almost finished a Graduate Diploma in Information Management at UTS (1 subject left in 2009). I was sick/injured during 2 assessment tasks of the subject I was enrolled in and had to work almost 2 days straight without sleep each time to hand the tasks in – thank goodness passed it by the smallest margin possible 🙂
- Attended the . The presenters were informative and it was fun to chat with other young people working in Libraries around Australia
- Took time out to relax during December – catch up on TV shows I’d recorded on my PVR, met with friends, reduced the backlog of books to read etc
EDIT: In a late development the talented editorial cartoonist for Crikey.com.au Andrew Marlton aka “First Dog On the Moon” drew personalised animal avatars for lots of his friends on Twitter including me 🙂 As I’m tall I asked for a Giraffe and this is what he came up with…
All in all 2008 was a great year : my websites got well over 1.2 million pageviews through 2008, Advertising income was volatile due to the huge fluctuations in the $AUS but averaged out well in the end, I made new friends & business associates, got in touch with many people working in old media/new media who I can learn from …
2008 opened up many opportunities for me thanks to my more visible reputation as a professional blogger, to paraphrase the Ferengi species from Star Trek “2009 will be the year to carpe jugulum (grab opportunities by the throat)”
My Best Blog Posts for 2008
If you didn’t notice when I published them a few days ago I’ve created a list of the best 2008 Blog posts at my Rambling Thoughts Blog