Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

Home

www.google.co.uk


Recent Comments


Monthly Archives


Most recent entries


Search


Advanced Search


Other Blogs I write for

Brian Micklethwait's Education Blog

CNE Competition
CNE Intellectual Property
Samizdata
Transport Blog


Blogroll

2 Blowhards
6000 Miles from Civilisation
A Decent Muesli
Adloyada
Adventures in Capitalism
Alan Little
Albion's Seedling
Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise
Alex Singleton
AngloAustria
Another Food Blog
Antoine Clarke
Antoine Clarke's Election Watch
Armed and Dangerous
Art Of The State Blog
Biased BBC
Bishop Hill
BLDG BLOG
Bloggers Blog
Blognor Regis
Blowing Smoke
Boatang & Demetriou
Boing Boing
Boris Johnson
Brazen Careerist
Bryan Appleyard
Burning Our Money
Cafe Hayek
Cato@Liberty
Charlie's Diary
Chase me ladies, I'm in the cavalry
Chicago Boyz
China Law Blog
Cicero's Songs
City Comforts
Civilian Gun Self-Defense Blog
Clay Shirky
Climate Resistance
Climate Skeptic
Coffee & Complexity
Coffee House
Communities Dominate Brands
Confused of Calcutta
Conservative Party Reptile
Contra Niche
Contrary Brin
Counting Cats in Zanzibar
Скрипучая беседка
CrozierVision
Dave Barry
Davids Medienkritik
David Thompson
Deleted by tomorrow
deputydog
diamond geezer
Dilbert.Blog
Dizzy Thinks
Dodgeblogium
Don't Hold Your Breath
Douglas Carswell Blog
dropsafe
Dr Robert Lefever
Dr. Weevil
ecomyths
engadget
Englands Freedome, Souldiers Rights
English Cut
English Russia
EU Referendum
Ezra Levant
Everything I Say is Right
Fat Man on a Keyboard
Ferraris for all
Flickr blog
Freeborn John
Freedom and Whisky
From The Barrel of a Gun
ft.com/maverecon
Fugitive Ink
Future Perfect
FuturePundit
Gaping Void
Garnerblog
Gates of Vienna
Gizmodo
Global Warming Politics
Greg Mankiw's Blog
Guido Fawkes' blog
HE&OS
Here Comes Everybody
Hit & Run
House of Dumb
Iain Dale's Diary
Ideas
Idiot Toys
IMAO
Indexed
India Uncut
Instapundit
Intermezzo
Jackie Danicki
James Delingpole
James Fallows
Jeffrey Archer's Official Blog
Jessica Duchen's classical music blog
Jihad Watch
Joanne Jacobs
Johan Norberg
John Redwood
Jonathan's Photoblog
Kristine Lowe
Laissez Faire Books
Languagehat
Last of the Few
Lessig Blog
Libertarian Alliance: Blog
Liberty Alone
Liberty Dad - a World Without Dictators
Lib on the United Kingdom
Little Man, What Now?
listen missy
Loic Le Meur Blog
L'Ombre de l'Olivier
London Daily Photo
Londonist
Mad Housewife
Mangan's Miscellany
Marginal Revolution
Mark Wadsworth
Media Influencer
Melanie Phillips
Metamagician and the Hellfire Club
Michael Jennings
Michael J. Totten's Middle East Journal
Mick Hartley
More Than Mind Games
mr eugenides
Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism
My Boyfriend Is A Twat
My Other Stuff
Natalie Solent
Nation of Shopkeepers
Neatorama
neo-neocon
Never Trust a Hippy
NO2ID NewsBlog
Non Diet Weight Loss
Normblog
Nurses for Reform blog
Obnoxio The Clown
Oddity Central
Oliver Kamm
On an Overgrown Path
One Man & His Blog
Owlthoughts of a peripatetic pedant
Oxford Libertarian Society /blog
Patri's Peripatetic Peregrinations
phosita
Picking Losers
Pigeon Blog
Police Inspector Blog
PooterGeek
Power Line
Private Sector Development blog
Public Interest.co.uk
Publius Pundit
Quotulatiousness
Rachel Lucas
RealClimate
Remember I'm the Bloody Architect
Rob's Blog
Sandow
Scrappleface
Setting The World To Rights
Shane Greer
Shanghaiist
SimonHewittJones.com The Violin Blog
Sinclair's Musings
Slipped Disc
Sky Watching My World
Social Affairs Unit
Squander Two Blog
Stephen Fry
Stuff White People Like
Stumbling and Mumbling
Style Bubble
Sunset Gun
Survival Arts
Susan Hill
Teblog
Techdirt
Technology Liberation Front
The Adam Smith Institute Blog
The Agitator
The AntRant
The Becker-Posner Blog
The Belgravia Dispatch
The Belmont Club
The Big Blog Company
The Big Picture
the blog of dave cole
The Corridor of Uncertainty (a Cricket blog)
The Croydonian
The Daily Ablution
The Devil's Advocate
The Devil's Kitchen
The Dissident Frogman
The Distributed Republic
The Early Days of a Better Nation
The Examined Life
The Filter^
The Fly Bottle
The Freeway to Serfdom
The Future of Music
The Futurist
The Happiness Project
The Jarndyce Blog
The London Fog
The Long Tail
The Lumber Room
The Online Photographer
The Only Winning Move
The Policeman's Blog
The Road to Surfdom
The Sharpener
The Speculist
The Surfer
The Wedding Photography Blog
The Welfare State We're In
things magazine
TigerHawk
Tim Blair
Tim Harford
Tim Worstall
tomgpalmer.com
tompeters!
Transterrestrial Musings
UK Commentators - Laban Tall's Blog
UK Libertarian Party
Unqualified Offerings
Violins and Starships
Virginia Postrel
Vodkapundit
WebUrbanist
we make money not art
What Do I Know?
What's Up With That?
Where the grass is greener
White Sun of the Desert
Why Evolution Is True
Your Freedom and Ours


Websites


Mainstream Media

BBC
Guardian
Economist
Independent
MSNBC
Telegraph
The Sun
This is London
Times


Syndicate

RSS 1.0
RSS 2.0
Atom
Feedburner
Podcasts


Categories

Advertising
Africa
Anglosphere
Architecture
Art
Asia
Atheism
Australasia
Billion Monkeys
Bits from books
Bloggers and blogging
Books
Brian Micklethwait podcasts
Brians
Bridges
Business
Career counselling
Cartoons
Cats and kittens
China
Civil liberties
Classical music
Comedy
Comments
Computer graphics
Cranes
Crime
Current events
Democracy
Design
Digital photographers
Economics
Education
Emmanuel Todd
Environment
Europe
Expression Engine
Family
Food and drink
France
Friends
Globalisation
Healthcare
History
How the mind works
India
Intellectual property
Japan
Kevin Dowd
Language
Latin America
Law
Libertarianism
Links
Literature
London
Media and journalism
Middle East and Islam
Movies
Music
My blog ruins
My photographs
Open Source
Opera
Painting
Photography
Podcasting
Poetry
Politics
Pop music
Propaganda
Quote unquote
Radio
Religion
Roof clutter
Russia
Science
Science fiction
Sculpture
Signs and notices
Social Media
Society
Software
South America
Space
Sport
Technology
Television
The internet
The Micklethwait Clock
Theatre
This and that
This blog
Transport
Travel
USA
Video
War


Category archive: Social Media

Tuesday March 04 2014

Incoming, entitled “Request Link Removal”:

Dear Brian,

I am contacting you on behalf of Eurostar, we work with their Online Marketing team and are currently reviewing the number of links pointing to the Eurostar website. In order to comply with Google’s regulations, there are a number of links which we are required to remove or nofollow. We have identified such links from your website and would like to request that you either remove the link or add a nofollow tag to it.

The link(s) we wish to be removed can be found here:
[original link written out but it doesn’t fit properly here]

Please can you let me know once you have altered the link or if you have any questions,

Kind Regards,
Marleen Vonk
SEO Account Executive
360i | 62-70 Shorts Gardens | Covent Garden| London, WC2H 9AH

The link in the above email is to an entire month of postings here, so it took me a while to find the offending link in question.  I was half hoping I wouldn’t find it, so I could send a sarky email back saying: Be more specific.  Which posting?  No such luck.  It’s in this posting, where is says “November”.  Worth following that link because it is to one of my very best ever (I think) photos.

I don’t understand what a “nofollow tag” is or how to make such a thing work, so I just removed the link.

My link originally went “http(semicolon)//stpancras.eurostar.com/en-gb/why-we-moving” (I’ve changed “:” to “(semicolon)” there to stop this version causing more grief).  Trying StPancrasDotEurostarDotCom now gets Google saying:

Oops! Google Chrome could not find stpancras.eurostar.com.  Did you mean: www.­eurostar.­com/­stpancras

Interesting that Google omits the question mark there, I think.

So, presumably this is a case of an old Eurostar website that they no longer want anyone reading.

Or is it?  I don’t know.  Can anyone tell me more about what just happened?

To me, it all has a slightly objectionable taste to it.  The link to our site no longer works, so you must remove your link to it.  Why?  Why can’t the link just not work any more?  Does it clog up the internet, or something, with repeated attempts to make the link work?  Is that what this is about?

Monday February 10 2014

Mick Hartley links to some pictures of people forming human sculptures.  He chooses his favourite.  I choose this one:

image

One of the speculations I offered in my recent talk about the impact of digital photography was that digital photography has greatly encouraged this kind of temporary art.

Recently I heard tell of some kind of performance art event where cameras were forbidden.  My googling skills did not enable me to track down any report of such an event, but I am guessing that one of their motives was to avoid the creation of an object, which someone might later buy, and then (perhaps for a great deal more money) sell.  And I further guess that the “artists” in question were being deliberately contrary, as artists typically like to be these days, and chose to do the daft, counter-intuitive thing.  The obvious response to temporary art is to take pictures of it, to make it permanent.  So, said the artists, let’s forbid that, and be different.

But most people who do something “creative” want some kind of record or product of their efforts, something to show for it.  Literally, some thing, to show.  And the fact that it is now so totally easy to create such things, such records, and communicate them far and wide to friends and family, real and virtual, must surely increase the attraction of doing such temporary art.  Art, that is to say, that in the past would have been temporary, but which can now be made permanent.  See also: painting, sand castles, ice sculptures.

As to what these particular people are communicating with their body assemblages, what it speaks to me of is the futility of life in the world now, for young people, educated, unemployable, unneeded, probably in debt.

Tuesday January 21 2014

As I said in the previous post, my talk about digital photography at Christian Michel’s last night went well, in the sense of me feeling it went well, and it seeming to be well received.  I occasionally put my sheets of paper down and extemporised upon some point I was making, but mostly, this was it.  No links, no photos, no extras.  (They may come later, I hope, but I promise nothing.) Just the bare text that I read out, complete with all the errors of grammar and spelling, of fact and interpretation, that may or may not be present:

I have given several talks in this 6/20 series, but until now this has been because I have had both questions and answers to offer to the assembled throng.  I have had theses to present, clutches of facts to pass on.

This time I don’t know the answers.  I merely want to know the answers.  What is the impact of digital photography? What is it doing to us?  Since fixing this subject matter with Christian I have made, I think, some progress in arriving at answers, but only some.  Tonight I expect to make further progress.

Luckily, for my purposes, we have all been alive throughout the period of digital photography’s mass use, and have observed it in action, even if we may not always have wanted to.  Has anyone here not taken a digital photo?  Just as I thought.  (It actually says that here.  And this.)

*****

I will start my remarks by quoting a remark made by an American whom I overheard about fifty years ago, on the Acropolis in Athens, the place where what is left of the Parthenon stands.  I was there trying to do some sketching, a skill I never got any good at but spent a few years attempting.  He was doing pictures with his seriously pre-digital camera.  As soon as he had finished photoing, he wanted to leave, presumably to get to his next photoing place.  But his family were enjoying the Acropolis in the morning sunshine.  Said he to his family: “Come one, come on!  We’ll look at it when we get home!”

This outburst captures a great deal about what people object to about digital photography, but it also reminds us that photography, by Everyman as opposed to by professionals, is nothing new.  Digital photography is partly just the intensification of a process that has been in place in our culture for well over a century.  But it is more than that.

Friday December 27 2013

6000:

Post pictures of cats, they said. Seriously, if you’re not going to be able to write much, and a picture is worth a thousand words, then a picture of a cat is worth, well, Six Thousand. Do it.

So, with that in mind, here’s a picture of a cat, ...

I also found myself referring recently to the notion that a picture is worth a thousand words, but I think that one of the consequences of digital photography is that this is probably no longer true.  Not unless it’s a very good picture.  And to be fair to 6000, it is a pretty good cat picture.  Also, he was not saying that a picture is worth a thousand words, merely referring to the notion, by saying “if” it is, as an excuse for a quota cat.

One of the things that used to make pictures count for so much was that everyone knew what a bother it was to contrive them.  Now, everyone knows that contriving pictures has become very easy.

The reason I can never make myself care about just shoving hundreds of snaps up on the internet using something like Flickr, and why I prefer to put them here (or here), in much smaller numbers, is that I prefer my pictures to be accompanied by words, words that explain what I am trying to say with the pictures, or what I think is interesting about them.

The same principle applied to the old newspaper photographs, where this phrase presumably originated.  A picture may then have been worth a thousand words, but there were usually also plenty of actual words attached.

Often, the pictures here are pictures of words.  If following a link does not appeal, consider only the previous two postings.

Thursday August 29 2013

I have another last Friday of the Month meeting tomorrow.  Patrick Crozier will speak about life in Britain in 1913.

In an email to Patrick, I asked him:

Were they libertarians?

And in the email to all those on my list for these evenings, I included that and other questions, together with Patrick’s responses about what else he’ll be talking aboutt.  (If you want to be on that, click where it says “Contact”, top left.)

In response to this email, Antoine Clarke emailed back thus:

I definitely intend to be there. …

Good.  And yes Antoine, bring some crisps.

And he continued:

For what it’s worth, my short guess would be: They weren’t libertarians, though they lived in a society that was largely libertarian (perhaps the problem was not getting the importance of [or caring about] the things that kept it libertarian).  Assumptions about what the state could and should do were more libertarian.

But racism, at least between Europeans and non-Europeans, was there. It might not be translated into “… therefore they must be destroyed ...” but only weird people would marry blacks.

I think that only started seriously changing half a century later.

Perhaps the most significant impression people had was that life was a lot better than it had been 50 or 100 years ago, in terms of money, quality of life and freedom. And they thought it would probably continue.

I’ll shortly be sending out a reminder email about tomorrow night, containing links to this posting here, and to this Samizdata posting.

I like how, when a topic of discussion is announced, the discussion can now get underway beforehand, and continue afterwards.  You do not have to show up at a meeting in order to be influenced by it, one way or another.  And nowadays that applies to many more people than to those who do show up.

Wednesday August 14 2013

That’s one of things it says here.  But don’t go there.  You’d be wasting your time.  All that the bit of it that concerns the above says is: “You can achieve everything you want if you’re unambitious enough.”

I get really pissed off with links that say something, and you go there, and all it is is someone saying what you’ve just read already, with no elaboration or justification or illustration or explication or any other sort of ation, of the sort that all links used to take you to.  I am sure Twitter has its uses, but I wish people wouldn’t link to it in this annoyingly disappointing way.

Monday August 05 2013

My friend Alex Singleton dropped by the other day.  He often does, after or between appointments that bring him near to my home.  He has a blog, which I recommend, and Alex himself recommends blogging as a good way to spread ideas or sell products.  I sort of knew Alex had a blog for a quite a while, but did not really register this fact.  I am now digging backwards, and finding things like this, from someone called Harold Burson:

The term communications has become synonymous with PR but this does a disservice to our profession by making it tactical … The best term for what we do is public relations.

I recently read a book where “PR” meant photo reconnaissance throughout.  It described a different world entirely from ours, in which misdirected photographic efforts could easily cost your your life.  But yes, good to encounter someone who is not ashamed of what he does.

Too few practitioners have even heard of the legendary figures of PR, such as Ivy Lee and Sir Basil Clarke, let alone read about them. But it does mean that those who put the time in to study how PR works – practically, not academically – quickly shine.

That’s Alex himself.  There are, throughout his blog, regular references to and quotes from old dead guys, another who is frequently mentioned being David Ogilvy.  Why reinvent the wheel?  A particular theme of Alex’s thinking is that the new social media don’t render all the wisdoms of the PR and advertising past obsolete.

I like how Alex writes.  He prefers short and clear sentences to longer and wafflier ones, clear words to the vaguer words so loved by PR-ists.  Everything he writes exudes confidence in his ability to help enterprise do their PR better.  Which would explain why he is not afraid to have as his latest posting an admiring piece about Rudolf Flesch.  Quote:

Flesch writes: “while we don’t need so many words any more to express our thoughts, the words we do use carry a much heavier load of ideas… as far as ideas are concerned, our sentences are usually much longer and fuller than those people wrote two or three centuries ago”.

The danger, he says, is that “our more heavy-handed writers don’t care much for the modern short sentence either; and so we get prose that consists of overlong sentences packed to the brim with long, overloaded words”.

And that, in a nutshell, is what’s wrong with so much material that comes out of big organisations today.

You don’t put stuff like that up if you fear that your earlier postings will then be scoured by envious rivals, successfully, for great gobs of longwinded nonsense.

Alex, just like all these old dead guys, dresses smartly, as he explains in this posting, i.e. more smartly than he did in this photo of him (by me with me also in it) here.  I particularly like that one.

Talking with Alex also helped me to think through an enterprise of my own that I am now contemplating.  He supplied some very helpful ideas about how I could do this more easily and effectively.

Thursday July 11 2013

England sports fans, cricket fans especially, are noted for their pessimism.  There is no situation from which an England team cannot snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, and you can rely on an England fan to point this out, before during, and even right at the very end, just before (if they do) England win.  I believe the Welsh are the same.  But pessimism of this sort has its uses.

Yesterday, for instance, I did this posting on Samizdata about how all the proper commentators are saying that England will walk it against Australia in the two forthcoming Ashes series, home and away.  Not so fast, I said.  England could lose.  With sport, you never know.

The result of this posting was that I was happy all of yesterday, no matter what happened.  If England got off to a flyer, hurrah.  If they did not, hurrah, because: I told you so.  England lost early wickets, and later failed to recover.  Hurrah, I told you so.  Then, England knocked over four top order Aussies.  Hurrah.  Now, Australia are building a threatening stand.  They are over a hundred for four, having earlier been 22-3, with Clarke bowled by an Anderson beauty.  Heads I win, tails I win.  Hurrah hurrah.

Australia 108-5.  Smith snicks at Anderson.  Hurrah again.

Now that everyone is able, thanks to all the New Media, to publicise their pessimistic sporting prophecies, this pleasurable effect is now greatly intensified.

Does this sort of thing explain real life pessimism, even real life pessimism on a cosmic scale, of the We Are All Doomed sort?  When the world does end, will it end to joyous cries of: I told you so! ?

Australia 113-6!  114-7!!  Hurrah!!!

114-8.  Fiver for Jimmy A.  Okay all this is very good for England, but this is so good it also illustrates that ... with sport you never know!  Hurrah hurrah hurrah!!!

117-9.

LUNCH: Australia 229-9.  Last wicket stand of 112 and counting.  First innings lead of 14 and counting.  Hughes 63 not out.  Agar, highest scoring ever test match number 11 debutant: 69 not out.

With sport, you just never know.

Hurrah.

LATER: Agar is nearing a century.  Already biggest ever score by any test number eleven, never mind a debutant.  Amazing.

World record tenth wicket partnership in tests.

Doh!  Agar out for 98.  Shame.

Really, with sport, you never, never know.

On the pleasure of assuming the worst
A scaffolder likes Jeremy Clarkson
Quotes of the day
“No one has to know!”
Birds
WWWhat a great afternoon!!!
A photo taken of a taken photo of the photo being taken
The politics of humour in the USA and in Britain
Out to lunch with Alex Singleton
Eye shadow
BrianMicklethwaitDotCom twitter of the day before the day before yesterday
Everyone who shows this picture needs to add that it is not Photoshopped
One man’s intellectual theft is another man’s marketing
The US Navy photos itself
Why David Hepworth is wrong about podcasting
Does Google now rule the world of computing?
Antoine Clarke on the Massachusetts election and the online effect
Graeme Swann - twitterer but no twit
Antoine Clarke talks about Facebook and Twitter – Guido and … Ian Geldard?
Tienanmen + Twitter = Teheran
Daniel Hannan and the shape of the media to come
It all depends on whether there is anything worth Twittering
Effing newspapers
Google and dongle
Floppy road bridge where the cars nearly get wet
Horizons
PID strikes Guido
Flickring and Googling for the AMGEN bridge
Billion Monkey lady ticks four (make that five) boxes!
The moving bridges of Chicago
Flat viaduct and spiral bridge
Blogging – the end of the beginning
Democracy for sale – starting with football and beer
Facebook – not so social
Billion Monkey lady does … “Heinrich Photography”?
Socialising with the Social Media
Breaking the Left’s stranglehold on the moving image
Che Guevara was a murderer and your T-Shirt is not cool
Facebook
New Moscow road bridge
The future of music
Other people’s photos (4): Kitten on man’s head
Blogging has arrived
Other people’s photos (3): Ice storm
What next for the virtuoso violinists? - Simon Hewitt Jones has some answers
London photos by Fabio
Perry de Havilland on the thinking behind Samizdata
Adriana Media Influencer: What do you do? (the mp3s of the book)