UK Twitter users to get SMS service back?

Rumours abound – an article on Times Online says

The other big news for UK Twitterers is that free SMS is going to be restored for the UK and other countries. Twitter has hired a mobile business development director and that is his first task.

This apparently comes from an intervew with Biz Stone, one of Twitter’s founders.

Now, I’m sure the mobile networks would love to have the traffic that Twitter generates. But they won’t be giving it away for free – nor are they allowed to under the current regulatory model. So someone will have to pay. Note that the person charged with sorting it out is the new ‘Mobile Business Development Director’ – SMS will have to be part of Twitter’s business model – whatever that ends up being.

No more free rides.


February 1, 2009 at 12:36 pm Leave a comment

We must save Bletchley Park

With all the millions of lottery funding going on worthwhile causes, it amazes me that Bletchley Park should be reduced to making public appeals and government petitions to preserve its fascinating and hugely significant exhibitions of codebreaking and computing history, and the equally historic buildings in which they’re housed.

Much has been written about the history of Bletchley Park. Its major contribution to 20th Century British history is that during World War II it was the home of a group of people whose job it was to intercept and decode secret messages sent by the German army and navy. The operatives at Station X, as Bletchley was known, comprised the pick of the country’s mathemeticians and scientists – including the legendary Alan Turing. They developed and operated codebreaking machines which automated the decoding of messages encrypted by the infamous German Enigma machine.

Bletchley Park now houses a number of significant exhibitions. Turing’s orginal ‘Bombe’ Enigma decoding machine has been rebuilt, and is on display along with several examples of orignal Engima machines and other wartime crytpographic equipment, including the ‘Colossus’ machine, built to decode the later Lorenz codes.

The site also gives a home to the UK’s only hands-on Museum of Computing, with exhibits from all periods from early 1960s mainframes through home-built micros of the 1970s up to the modern day. There are several other wartime exhibits, and Milton Keynes Amateur Radio Society puts on regular demonstrations of the techniques used in wartime communications.

These exhibits could be housed anywhere. But the unique thing about Bletchley Park is that they can be visited in context – in the very buildings that were used during the war. This is simply unique and must be preserved, along with the Victorian main house which is full of atmosphere and history of its own – it is used mainly as an up-market conference and wedding venue which brings in much-needed funds.

Please, help save Bletchley Park. You can do this in several ways.

Your support is badly needed.

January 30, 2009 at 8:25 pm 3 comments

ROI – not always a matter of money

Read this today:

There is endless talk online and off-line of increased traffic to websites, comments galore, users joining your community, and community development. The question posed through all of this discussion is the concept of measuring ROI in Social Media.Kyle Lacy, Social Media – Indianapolis, Jan 2009

Well, for some of us, measuring the ROI isn’t an option. In the Government sector, our success is to a great extent measured in terms of medium- and long-term policy objectives. A lot of our work at is about health promotion – the success of which can only be measured when a generation has passed.

Which leads me to a question – how on earth do we justify investment in social media in this context? I hope we can discuss this at the forthcoming UKGovCamp barcamp. And here, of course, if you care to.

January 17, 2009 at 7:48 pm 4 comments

Blimey, UKGovWeb09 is a sell-out!

Tickets for BarcampUKGovweb09 went on ‘sale’ at Eventbrite this afternoon – and as I type this, there’s only a handful left. I’m really looking forward to the day (31st January), which promises lively debate about a wide spectrum of topics relating to UK Government use of digital and social media. I’m sure I’ll get to spout on about some of my experiences at NHS Choices, as well as learning a whole lot about how other parts of Government address similar issues to the ones we face.

There’s a Google Group and a Ning network to discuss the event – before, during and after.

See you there?

January 14, 2009 at 9:46 pm Leave a comment

Amplified 08 – Play it Loud!

I need to do more networking. That’s what I told myself earlier this year. I need new ideas, the chance to bounce my own ideas off other people, find new collaborative opportunities; generally, in a professional sense, to get out more.

I now find myself with way too many networking opportunities to fit in the time I have available. Working to pay the bills takes priority over what is, in strict terms, business development. I’d love to attend Social Media Cafe, Creative Coffee, Social Media Club, Mobile Monday, London Net Squared, a few events in Leeds, and loads more. But with the best will in the world, I can’t. Which to choose? The social media scene in London is lively, which is great, but it can be a bit fragmented as a result.

Help is at hand. A few of the members of some of the groups I’ve mentioned above have acknowledged this problem, and set about creating an uber-network – Network of Networks – with its first meeting on 27th November 2008 using great facilities at NESTA. The group is called Amplified – it has ambitious goals to run events that grow in size and coverage once a quarter, leading up to a huge crescendo in 2010. It draws its audience from a growing list of other social media and creative networks around the UK.

The agenda for the first meeting is up for grabs. In un-conference style, ideas are being discussed at the Amplified wiki. I’ve got my name down to attend and hope to play a big part in this exciting initiative – will you be there?

November 5, 2008 at 3:35 pm 2 comments

New blog from Computer Weekly – The Social Enterprise

Serial-blogger and RBI’s social networking champion Adam Tinworth has just launched a new blog on – The Social Enterprise. Anything new from that stable is bound to be worth following – straight into Google Reader it goes.

October 21, 2008 at 9:36 am Leave a comment

Gloomy outlook for the broadband industry?

Charles Arthur of the Guardian and Ian Fogg of Jupiter Research have been posting their thoughts on how the UK broadband industry will fare in an economic downturn. On the face of it, they both make fairly gloomy reading – although the demand for basic consumer broadband will remain, the churn rate (users switching between suppliers, which drives much of the product innovation in the marketplace) will slow down as people move house less. (A house move is known to be a major trigger for people to re-assess their need for, and supplier of, domestic services). But suppliers may be unable to make the capital investment needed to deliver the next-generation services currently planned – BT’s 21CN is at risk, as is their recently-announced FTTC/FTTH initiative.

We’ll also see the end of loss-leader offers and unprofitable services will be replaced by more openly-priced straightforward offerings. In addition, the penny-watching consumer will be able to work out that a free laptop which is contingent on a 24-month mobile broadband contract at £45/month isn’t free at all, and isn’t even the cheapest way to buy the laptop – seeing the end of these complex offers.

My view is that we’ll see a return to basic value-for-money offerings, which will probably lead to more consolidation in the market as smaller providers find it more and more difficult to differentiate their services. Some of the larger operators will pick up some bargains in the shape of the customer base and/or the network assets of their smaller competitors.

Not good news for those whose livelihood is dependent on the continuous innovation and capital investment in the broadband industry.

October 16, 2008 at 3:37 pm Leave a comment

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