Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! (With Added WiFi)

Can't Pay? Won't Pay!

CAN’T PAY? WON’T PAY! opened last night at Set Theatre in Kilkenny, the latest offering from The Devious Theatre Company. While I can be seen on stage for the 95 minutes or so of performance, I’ve been working as a producer on the show as well for the past few months so there’s a bit of a bonus feeling of excitement there when you see the fruits of your labour (and those around you of course) take to a stage in full technicolour detail.

(By the way, you can win tickets to Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! here)

As a group this year (and over the last four years) we’ve really tried to grow our online presence, exploring all avenues social. Delighted we are in that people who come to the shows then return their feedback via Twitter, or Facebook. Hell, some people will even email in their thoughts post-show. However the feedback arrives, it’s made all the more possible, accessible, and real time thanks to the embracing of said social tools, tools that have not so much changed how we operate as a theatre company but have certainly shaped how we operate.

On the back of WordCamp, the wifi setup that was created for last weekend’s conference (part of which was held in Set Theatre) is still in place, thus you can access WiFi during the show. No, we wouldn’t want you checking your email or getting lost browsing the web, but with Twitter, Facebook and more at your fingertips (or in your pocket), we’d love to hear the feedback on the night, good or bad, public or private. If you’re sitting in the audience tweeting about the show, why not use the hashtag #cpwp? Feel free to take photos of the performers in action on the stage (just switch the flash off if you don’t mind) and tag them accordingly. Adopting a more open approach last year, we wound up with some fantastic audience photos that were shared via email, Picasa, Facebook and more.

John Morton has been talking about the ingredients of Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! over on the blog, and now it has added WiFi, so if you’re coming along, don’t be shy, let us know what you think.

Order tickets online for Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay!

Pushing for IGOpeople

IGOpeople launched late last year in beta, billed as the “network for the real world”. So far, it’s living up to it’s name.

Real individuals, real groups, real people – and they all tie together in one very neat, clean and easy to use environment. The clock tells me it was December 17th when I registered (about when IGOpeople launched) and since then I’ve been using it to keep track of Kilkenny Open Coffee – that’s where the conversations grew out of Tweets. Being able to group the threaded conversation in the one public place, accessible by those participating in the first Kilkenny Open Coffee made the planning a breeze, but also attracted the attention of the IGOpeople team (of Campbell and David) who also joined us earlier this month to talk about the launch of and plans for where things may be going.

They’re on top of things too. Watching the conversations online, watching feedback, and more importantly actioning something based on the feedback. For a real network to evolve, the input of the end users is vital. Listening to those users is key and from the outside (and based on conversations at Kilkenny Open Coffee), that’s what’s happening at IGOpeople.

While you can group the conversations nicely – Dell Limerick, Working From Home, Web Designers, Kilkenny Open Coffee – and openly contribute to these groups, it’s nice to see actual organisations taking an interest in the space, not only on an Irish front, but on a global front. Vodafone are there (and were running a competition this week where I bagged some free mobile credit), Blacknight, Tibus, dbTwang, Flexitimers, FBD Insurance – all offering their customers and userbase another opportunity for online customer support and contact.

While there are plenty of big name companies listed – MTV, Ryanair, Canon, Google, Dell, FedEx etc. – it will be nice to see what happens when representative of these companies get on board and start sharing that bit more with what’s quickly becoming a very active community.

If you’ve not yet signed up for, take a minute or two out of your day or evening and take a look for yourself. Best of luck to Campbell, and all at IGOpeople with their growth in 2009.

(They must be working overtime this evening as an application to get The Devious Theatre Company on board as an organisation was approved real quick – never mind a few hours or days, I think this was more like minutes – good stuff!)

MySpace, Record Labels Team Up For MySpace Music

The much rumoured and often spoken about ‘MySpace Music’ service has come to light, as I read this morning that MySpace have officially announced their new ‘MySpace Music’ service, a partnership between News Corporation and “three out of the four top record labels”.

The service is looking to become a one-stop shop for everything music; DRM free downloads and music sales, ticket sales for gigs and tours, band merchandise, ringtones – everything and anything goes.

It is a good move for the record industry and a great play for MySpace whose existing music service is used by millions of bands worldwide (I’m even in there) as a platform for showcasing music, listing gigs and connecting with fans.

Couple with that the ability to sell your tracks, merchandise and tickets directly through MySpace and you really have a powerful promotional tool for aspiring and established artists.

That said, with the deal seemingly focusing around the participation of three major record labels (EMI were holding out as of Friday), I would hope the the tools established by the service would be available to the smaller bands and those unaffiliated with record labels.

While the record labels look for ways to dig into online sales and catch up with the rest of the world, independent artists have been steaming ahead, safe in the knowledge that you don’t need a record label in order to release music. I’ve worked with enough bands over the last few years to see first hand you don’t need a record label to succeed and gone are the days of needing millions of dollars, pounds or Euro in order to record, launch and promote a single, EP or album.

Thomas Hesse, the President of Global Digital Business at Sony BMG Music Entertainment said in Thursday’s article on CNET that they are simply “aligning our efforts to reach fans through every conceivable platform”.

I haven’t seen any indication of what percentage of the market they’re trying to grab, likely away from Apple’s iTunes service, but here’s to hoping they don’t forget about the independent artists and make their new resources available for everyone.

Linking In

LinkedIn.comSo I’m back to reality with a bang – a never ending stream of email since last Thursday (when I disconnected myself for the second time in as many weeks) and I’m a half day into a four-day work week.

Having time over lunch today I’ve started tinkering with my profile. I figured it could do with a bit of a boost, bringing something of a personal touch to the description of work (and myself) that it holds).

I’ve followed some of the tips as laid down in a recent post by Pat Phelan and I’m committed to exploring some of the finer things that LinkedIn has to offer, both personally and professionally. Facebook, for me, has become another MySpace – too many pokes, requests for random drinking games or junk that I don’t need. As I explore fellow WIT graduates, it is interesting to see how many of them are also previous employees of AOL Europe, something that is almost a rite of passage for those studying at the main campus in Waterford (if you’re looking for industry-related work during study).

But it’s always good to make connections with new people.

Want to link in or link up? See my LinkedIn public profile here. If you’re asked for my email address, it’s ken [at] kenmc [DOT] com.

The Gamechanger: AOL Acquire Bebo In $850m Cash Deal

BeboOne of my former employers have announced that they’ve acquired Bebo
, currently ranked as the third largest social network in the US, behind MySpace and Facebook, and likely the widest used social network within Ireland. The deal sees AOL purchase Bebo in a US$850m cash deal, a price significantly higher than that paid for Intermix Media (MySpace) back at the end of 2005.

Of course, add two years worth of growth throughout the US and Europe, an opening up of the Bebo platform to accept third party applications and the price is likely to go up.

If AOL were looking for an “in” to the social networking arena, they’ve certainly got it now. The deal is expected to close some time in April, opening up a potential 40 million users to further AOL services (providing of course they’re not existing users).

I think it’s a great purchase for AOL and costs considered, it looks they’ve got themselves a decent price as well. Estimates on the sale of Bebo in the past 12 months have exceeded the US$1bn mark, TechCrunch reporting in February that Bebo may go for anywhere between US$1bn and US$1.5bn to Google while Yahoo was also rumoured to be looking into acquiring Bebo last summer.

From the announcement today, AOL chairman Randy Falco says

this deal is a “gamechanger” and will help power our strategic priorities across the board. Bebo is the best social media asset out there and has the most engaged audience and has seen great growth since its launch 3 years ago. We will be a social media powerhouse. 80 million unduplicated visitors when you count AIM and Bebo. Bebo will be connected to the largest distributed web audience and will circulate traffic from our sites to Bebo and the reverse and have the scale to grow Bebo worldwide. Joanna has impressed me with her vision for the new Web and better ways to connect and develop long-term relationship

Of course, the future of Yahoo itself has to be yet confirmed. There’s rumour today that Microsoft are set to announce their purchase of Yahoo at a 3pm press conference.

When all is said and done, congratulations to AOL on the deal, but does this mean I go back to using my ICQ account?

Update: Centernetworks has a live call with AOL (notes) here.

Social Networking Is On The Rise

My Bebo Profile
My bebo profile, click here to view.

Who would have guessed it, but social networking is on the rise, or so says the Kilkenny Advertiser.

An article by Brigid O Gorman in yesterday’s Advertiser here in Kilkenny looks at the power and rise of Bebo, although in terms of social networks doesn’t make much of a comparison (something I like out of Bernie’s media deliverables). The article looks at all the features available on Bebo and gets some quotes from a local self-confessed Bebo addict who reveals that one of the plus sides to Bebo is “the fact you can use Bebo at any time of the day”. Don’t know about you but I don’t know too many websites that shut down at 6pm when the office doors close. When this girl heads to college she might also find her opportunities to access Bebo at any time of the day quite restricted.

If its Bebo talk you’re looking for, give the article a read here (PDF format). PDF taken from Kilkenny Advertiser digital edition

Finding Me Online Made Easier

Given that so many of us have online presences across various networks I’ve decided to add a little feature to the header of the blog, replacing my 468*60 AdSense text banner with shortcut icons (links) to my Twitter, Jaiku, Bebo, MySpace, Skype, Podcast and RSS feed.

I’m leaving out one or two links for the time being including Linked In (which I don’t really use at all) and Facebook (which I’m only recently getting into).

I should also note that the Sound System Podcast isn’t just from me, though in most cases I’m acting as the anchor for the show, but it is hosted by the team.

The icons do add a little splash of colour to the header don’t ya think?

Social Linking – Where Am I?

I’m not featured on pBase or hiding out as a photographer in the Caribbean but I am lurking in various social networks on the web, and this is where you’ll find me.

  • MySpace
    MySpace is mainly used through and my constant contact with bands. More and more I see the gigs being organised via MySpace (people preferring that to taking my email or phone number which are published online), requests for information, booking information, podcast submissions. If bands want to add me, I’m open to it though I don’t go friend-hunting on it.
  • Bebo
    Bebo is pretty much a friend-to-friend thing. If I don’t know you, I don’t want to know you. I’ve used it to keep up with college friends now dotted around the country and around the world and thats what I expect to keep doing with it. Much prefer their photo album service to that of MySpace. It also allows me the opportunity to pimp out to the younger generation that are ‘beboers’. (younger than myself anyway).
  • Twitter
    My train of thoughts and random comments from during the day. I also republish these back to a WordPress blog for myself to look back over certain days at a glance. 140 characters more liberating than restricting I feel. Twitter certainly has had an impact on the Irish blogosphere, turning bloggers into impulse shoppers now with the recent Nokia N770 tweet and the pure drain of stock from Expansys as a result.
  • Jaiku
    I’ve been meaning to dip into Jaiku as a Twitter alternative but only registered myself yesterday as it is being used as a back channel for PodCamp Ireland between the organisers. Instantly prefer the interface over Twitter but yet to get the full feel of the service.
  • Facebook
    Love it or hate, Facebook provides a lot of facilities for networking and social interaction along with integration of some of your favourite online haunts (eBay, Twitter, Flickr etc.). Since FB was opened up to the global population it’s use has soared and along with it the number of widgets and apps available to integrate into your homepage. I’ve only started using FB recently but given the amazing popularity of it in the US I’ve had no problem connecting with and finding family who wouldn’t touch MySpace or have heard of Bebo, especially those who prefer the professional look and feel of FB.

If you feel the need to link up with me on anything or want to reach out and say hello – don’t be a stranger. Each of the links above will have the option to subscribe, or add a friend etc. – if you use any of the above you’ll know yourself how to hook up with someone anyway. I’m sure I’ve a ‘linked-in’ profile going that is about 80% complete but when FB affords you the same opportunities and more it will be a while before the remaining 20% gets filled out.

Don’t be a stranger…

Note – the idea here stems from Krishna De’s recent post on which social network you should choose.

Bebo Now A Political Playground?

Notice to politicians… call to my front door, try flag me down in the street or have a word with me at a gig but keep comments like these off my Bebo page, blog, MySpace…. you get where its going.

Bebo Politics

If this is going to be the “in thing” now in the run up to the elections I’m gonna be mighty pissed off….