We need a prize for a social media survey asking what people really think of brands on Facebook which is on 10 sites.


Hi, we are about to put a survey on to 10 sites with a combined readership that is more than 2.5 million per month.

It asks readers about their social media habits, how they engage with brands on Facebook and a whole lot more.

We are looking for prizes to encourage people to fill in the survey. If you have something appropriate then let me know on ashleyatshinymediadotcom asap.

You can obviously have access to the results of the survey too for use however you see fit.

Now Apple solves international disputes – brings peace between China and Japan


Don’t get me started on the iPhone 5 launch. Apparently the Geniuses were whooping everyone who went through the door this morning in a cheesy way that is part cheerleader and part Butlins’ Redcoat. Don’t they know we are British.

The best story though is around the launch of Apple Maps. Apparently…

One Twitter user pointed out that the app has also created two instances of the Senkaku, or Diaoyu, Islands. Japan and China have been fighting over ownership of that territory, leading the tweeter to quip that Apple may be trying to broker a deal by creating two versions of the islands.

Brilliant diplomacy from Apple and Tom Tom.

So why stop there. How about two Palestines? A pair of Falkland Islands? Maybe even they could create another Canary Islands for us Brits to take over.

This looks ace – British Aviation poster book – The Golden Age of Flight. Lots of art deco images


This looks like a must-have. Well it would were it not £35… British Aviation Posters: Art, Design and Flight by Scott Anthony and Oliver is published by Lund Humphries and rounds up some glorious images from the pioneering days of air travel.

It is a bit cheaper on Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/British-Aviation-Posters-Scott-Anthony/dp/1848220847/…

I’d love to fly to Le Touquet one day…

It looks at the influence of futurism, modernism, art deco and surrealism on posters which try to capture that early flying experience.

Is Time Out right? Is London really the World’s Greatest City


Mmm. This week Time Out London has gone on record as declaring London as the greatest city on the planet. Time Out NY does this on a regular basis, as does Time Out Paris, and I suspect that if it existed Time Out Riga would make the same claim too.

Personally, in spite of being a massive Londonphile, I don’t like all this bragging. It is something that New Yorkers have been doing for decades and it comes across as little more than a sales job born of misplaced arrogance. Kind of like Wolves fans singing about being the ‘greatest team the world has ever seen..’

I think London and Londoners know better. Surely it is British trait to be a little on the modest side. Also London hasn’t always been so great. Certainly you would have looked stupid making the case for London as the world capital in the late 80s and early 90s.

That said the Time Out article does make a pretty compelling case. The star witness is Bonkers Boris, who declares

‘I hope I won’t be accused of chauvinism if I say that London is the greatest city on earth – the commercial, cultural and artistic capital of the world. We have twice as many bookshops as New York, more theatres, a larger financial services sector – and a quarter of that city’s murder rate. We have more museums and more Michelin-starred restaurants than Paris. We have more parks and green space than any other European city.

Now I don’t care a hoot about Michelin starred restaurants (can’t afford to eat in them and besides wouldn’t ‘world’s best collection of ethnic restaurants would be a much better claim’) but he is bang on about his other points. Sure there is a lot wrong with London – the transport system creaks largely because it has been around so long and the city wasn’t designed to work in this way and don’t get me started on cycling. There are also nowhere near enough swimming pools and yes the weather isn’t great.


We have The Thames – surely the greatest city river in the world. If you have never taken a Clipper you really haven’t lived.

We have embraced multi-culturalism in a way that other cities can only dream of – London truly is a World city with people from across the globe. The London food scene is so much richer and diverse than pretty much anywhere on the planet.

We have that perfect mix of old and new – Look one way and you see a medieval tower, the other and you see the tallest building in Europe.

We have some wonderful villages – You could spend a week in London and have a wonderful time and see amazing things without going anywhere near the centre of town.

I think the key to London’s success is that it is able to constantly evolve. We are the Facebook of World Capitals, not always first with the innovation, but able to absorb new things in a way that keeps us addictive.

The irony is that we will probably be eclipsed by Shanghai, Mumbai or Rio sometime soon. But for now Time Out might just be right. Let’s not brag about it though.

The Word magazine lives on online as The Afterword – in a kind of legit way

Here’s an interesting one. It appears that The Word magazine isn’t so dead after all. Its vibrant online community has been replaced by something called The Afterword, which also seems pretty vibrant and popular too.

So is this Development Hell – The Word’s publishers – sneaky way of keeping the brand alive? Now according to the FAQ on the site which says…

Is this site officially connected with Word Magazine or their publisher Development Hell?
In a word, No.

What has happened to the old Wordmagazine.co.uk website? Can I access my old blog posts from there?

The Word Magazine website closed down on 17/7/2012. We hope to be able to give you access to some of the old website content soon. Watch this space.

So it isn’t connected to DH, but then they might have some of its content and there’s also a link to the site from http://www.wordmagazine.co.uk/ the mag’s original site.

Anyway, I have said many times that there is an alternative biz model for the brand and maybe it is something that the community can take a lead in. It all depends on how generous DH are feeling about their old brand.


Kickstarter heading to the UK : Good or bad? I can’t decide


Some interesting news today is that Kickstarter, the crowd-funding model for arts, media and gaming projects is coming to the UK. Up Until now you could fund UK projects, but only if you had a US address. From Autumn it will be open for anyone with a UK based project.

I have very mixed feelings about KickStarter. On the one hand I welcome the way it enables projects that might not have ever got off the ground to be funded.

But on the other I can’t really get my head round the idea of effectively begging for funding.

Personally I prefer the Blizzard magazine approach of pay what you want for a magazine. It works for them (probably because the content is amazing).

Anyway I will be watching it with interest.

London – A City Through Time for iPad review – the app book gets reinvented


There’s a lot of London publishing going on at the moment (coughs, http://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/the-london-project/id536879753?mt=11) but in terms of digital publishing nothing quite as ambitious or an innovative as this.

London – A City Through Time is an iPad app that is an extraordinary in its scope, vision and technical implementation. There really is nothing like it. Its executed by a company called Heuristic Media who have worked with among others Macmillan Publishing and The Museum of London to deliver a history of the capital using images, video, maps and a load more. There is some text there too – more on that in a moment.

At first glance it looks mind blowing. There are a number of ways of working your way though it. You can access information via a Timeline or find things via interactive maps. Alternatively you can just browse through videos, maps or individual subjects.

There is some fantastic stuff in here. The images, everything from portraits of medieval queens through to harrowing images of WW2 London are really superb. There are also a few very striking skyline images that enable you to get a 360 view on either via using your finger or by using the iPad’s gyroscopic facilities.

I also love the maps, mainly from the Victorian era, which show how the city began to sprawl during that century. You also get a few celebrity quotes on London, some cute Pathe videos featuring a cast that includes Oswald Mosley and John Lennon and a trio of audio tours you can take.

Ironically, for what can still be loosely termed a book, is that while the app is brilliant on images and interactivity it isn’t great on words. I was promised several thousand articles – what I got was school essay type stuff and load of links to Wikipedia. I am guessing that most of the content is curated from another source, but it is dull, textbook like, and quite often not especially relevant. It really undermines what could be a promising section on tube trains, and adds little to the overall package.

To be fair, the vast majority of people who buy this won’t care anyhow. What this app does brilliantly is curate cool stuff about London. In five years time individuals will be able to do something similar in that they will curate content that has been stored online and package it up as content on an iPad.

The other sticking point might be the price. Personally I feel a tenner is fine for the app, but a friend who was also blown away by it, has reservations about the price.

However, don ‘t let minor quibbles about words put you off. If you want words go here http://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/the-london-project/id536879753?mt=11 (coughs).

This is a fantastic app that both tourists and Londoners will cherish. Go buy it!


The London Project eBook: Now live on iBooks for the iPad and Kindle


Over the last few months I have been working on an ebook called The London project. It features high profile London bloggers Laura Scott (The Locals), Rob Baker (Another Nickel), Dan Calladine (Pop Up London), Sean Hannam (Say it with garage flowers), Paul Sorene (Anorak, Who Ate All The Pies) and several others.

Stories include

The tale of the City’s most iconic 20th century image
The capital’s disappearing villages
The London venues that shaped the history of music
The hidden history of the Thames Estuary
Dalston’s Street Preachers
London’s lost sports venues
The curse of north London artist Stuart Free
How the Hippies took Mayfair
Pop-Up London – what’s behind the trend

and a load more.

It was created for the iPad using iBooks Author – which enabled us to add galleries, maps and video – which in the context of The London Project are mainly used as footnotes. The Kindle version is a bit more straightforward. Ultimately though The London Project is about words.

The iBooks version is here http://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/the-london-project/id536879753?mt=11#

and the Kindle here http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-London-Project-ebook/dp/B008DCORL0/ref=sr_1_4?ie=…

An alternative publishing model for @TheWordMagazine – try the @blzzrd approach


To be honest I was never much of a Word Magazine reader. Still I am very sad that the publishers have now called it a day.

As David Hepworth said this morning

‘In the nine years since the magazine launched there have been dramatic changes in the media and the music business. These changes have made it more difficult for a small independent magazine to survive and provide its staff with a living. This hasn’t been made any easier by the economic climate of the wider world.’

I do wonder however if there is an alternative business model for the magazine and that is to ape the brilliant football magazine Blizzard – http://www.theblizzard.co.uk/

As far as I can work out people bought The Word for two reasons. Firstly it appealed to magazine die-hards who love the feel, the design and the grammar of magazines. These people probably curse the day the web arrived and never got over the death of The Face.

There are however readers who love the magazine for its long-tail content. the essays, extended interviews and more that just doesn’t really work online. And for these people the Blizzard type concept would work a treat.

Basically Blizzard publishes a magazine style ebook on the Kindle, iBook and print on demand formats every few months. The features tend to be serious, intelligent, and occasionally downright pretentious dissections of the beautiful game, If you want to read why brilliant historian Dominic Sandbrook thinks that Revie era Leeds had much in common with Nixon’s US presidency this is the place to go.

The subs are cheap, or you can pay for what you want. There is minimal design and no images – it is all about the words. I guess that Blizard isn’t making enough money to sustain a traditional publishing team, and it probably never will, but with an editor, freelancers and a web team on board, it has the potential to one day make some serious money.

It is early days for this type of magazine ebook concept. An ebook I was involved with – The London Project – recently launched and has been a big success in its free iBooks/iPad format. Once again it mostly features longer essays about London (the capital’s disappearing villages, The dark side of the Holloway Road etc) with galleries, maps and video used as footnotes. It is available here http://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/the-london-project/id536879753?mt=11

The London Project is at the start of its journey, and Blizzard has only been around a year or to. As for The Word, it is a brand that men of advancing years (coughs) is very loyal to. There’s an opportunity there somewhere.

The London Project – almost done


I have been a little quiet on here for a while now, largely because I have been trying to finish the book that I have been working on for months now.

The London Project is a collection of stories, images and videos that reflect the World’s greatest city on the cusp of a momentous year in its history.

It will look back at the past, take the pulse of the city as it is now and make a few predictions about its future. It will be available in the following formats.

iBooks version for the iPad – in colour with Google Maps, video and galleries.
Kindle version – less interactive, and no colour unless you read it on a Kindle app and not on the ereader
Print – a proper book version.

You’ll read about

The London landmarks that no one sees
The capital’s disappearing villages
The ten London venues that shaped the history of music
London’s most important night in the 20th century
Why London loves pop-ups

and a colourful cast of Londoners from Joe Meek through to north London artist Stuart Free.

Anyway – check out the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/TheLondonProject and if you ‘like’ us you’ll know when the Project hits the iTunes store/Amazon.

Btw – Bonus points for anyone who can name the place featured on the pic – a clue – it is just outside London on the Thames