Latest blog posts

Why I love using Twitter

I have a confession to make: I think Twitter is utterly fantastic. Sure, it can be a bit distracting at times, but that’s nothing self-discipline (and leaving the iPhone at home) won’t solve.

It seems not everyone agrees with me. Rather like Marmite or Manchester United, Twitter’s one of those things people love or hate. They get it or they don’t.

Well, in an effort to introduce you to the world of Twitter (and convert any sceptics out there), here are six reasons I think it’s great. It’s not just people saying what they had for lunch, you know.

  • It’s a great source of information. People on Twitter are a friendly bunch all-round really. There’s always someone who’ll answer your questions, whether you want help buying a laptop, or advice on the best place to go for lunch.
  • There’s interesting stuff to read. Where I used to turn first to Google Reader for my fix of interesting articles, I can now be pretty sure of finding handpicked gems in the stream of tweets from people I follow.
  • It gives me an outlet when I’m working by myself. Working from home gets a bit lonely sometimes, but at least I can partake in some online banter with fellow tweeters if things get too boring. Think of it as an online watercooler.
  • It’s good for networking. For me, LinkedIn seems too formal and Facebook is too much about people I already know. But with Twitter it’s easy to find people working in my profession, so I can share ideas, offer (and receive) advice – and maybe even pick up the odd client.
  • You hear about news first on Twitter. All the major news outlets use Twitter now (here’s The Guardian and BBC News), but you’re more likely to pick up on breaking news as it spreads like wildfire through the system. The Hudson River plane crash is a great example.
  • Occasionally you get free stuff. If it’s material gains you want, plenty of companies run promotions and giveaways on Twitter. I’ve blagged a free case of beer and a CD so far. It’s not quite the conveyor belt from The Generation Game, but there are opportunities out there.

I could go on, but if you’ve not been convinced by those points, there’s no hope for you anyway. Don’t use Twitter? Go on, sign up and give it a go. You can follow me for a start.

How to edit your own writing

No matter whether you’re a professional web copywriter (like me) or a professional something-else (maybe that’s you), we all have to edit our own work from time-to-time.

We do it when we read through an email before sending it, when we put the finishing touches to a new business proposal or when we dash off a press release. (You probably don’t do it when writing the weekly shopping list, but that’s ok.)

Editing isn’t easy

It’s not easy to edit your own text. Because you wrote it, you’re less likely to spot mistakes. Trust me – I once wrote a blog post promoting an event which got a the date of the event totally wrong. I wrote “14 November” instead of “14 January”. And I didn’t realise until a reader pointed it out.

That happened because I was in a rush. I wanted to get the information out there as soon as possible. Want to avoid this sort of embarrassing mistake? I’ve put together a few tips for you:


Constant improvements make good products great

Apple are masters of the glitzy product launch. By witholding all details of whatever new piece of kit they’re announcing, the company whips the media and its loyal fans into a frenzy of excitement and speculation.

This hype machine generates levels of publicity that other companies can only dream of. The recent iPad launch is a prime example.

Now, that sort of PR comes to Apple, in part at least, because the company’s products are pretty impressive. With each launch, they work to improve everything – not just the headline features that persuade people to part with their money.