Pushing DineToRead.ie

Library
Creative Commons License photo credit: lgbsneak

The internet is a great device. Growing up, it was a place to get online, spend hours talking to randomers via ICQ (I still remember my number vividly), the old IRC chat on IOL and knocking together pages on Geocities or Fortune City. That’s what it was for me anyway. Books went out the window, sport went out the window and I immersed myself in the world of the web.

Flash forward the guts of fifteen years and people are moving away from the web. When I say people, I’m moving away from the web. Sure enough, the chats still take place online, but more often than not, they’re carried on into the real world. Those initial conversations are bringing people together, getting them in large fun-filled rooms for the likes of the Blog Awards and the Irish Web Awards. I’m all for sites that create something in the offline world. We do it ourselves at Kilkenny Music when it comes to running the One Take Sessions in Kilkenny.

I’ve heard of these dining nights, the couply ones. Pay 70 or 80 Euro, get a call in a few weeks about an invite to get a group of four guys and four girls around a table to “see what happens”. For some people it’s friendship, for others it’s more. It’s not for me. Speed dating is not for me either. No offence to their sister company either, apologies.

However, Dine to Read is something I would consider as, by the sound of things, your ensured of great conversation and the chance of a good night out. Plus, it’s not going to completely break the bank at 45 Euro when you’re getting dinner thrown into the mix as well. And – you’ve got something to come back to as well.

DineToRead.ie blends the online and the offline. They’ve got an active online community who love to discuss books, but they’re working at taking the conversation online and putting real people together in a room, over a meal (the supper club), to continue the conversation. For those who prefer to immerse themselves in a book at night (sometimes not by choice), maybe they’ve got difficulty meeting people or finding out where people with similar interests hang out, now they’ve got the chance to get out and about.

Each month, ten people are invited to get together in a particular restaurant, to chat about the books they’ve been reading or the current book of the month. The next offline event takes place at Viña Mara in Galway where the discussion will be about Aravind Adiga’s ‘The White Tiger’. You can register for free online to enjoy the forums and get chatting straight away. Registering online also gives you access to the online booking and payment should you choose to attend a night out.

Nights are held Monday to Wednesday in Galway, Dublin, Cork and Waterford.

If you’re an avid reader, looking to broaden your circle of friends and maybe even get fed in the process, visit DineToRead.ie

Tuesday Push: Tuesday Push

Pushing
Creative Commons License photo credit: Valerie Everett

Some say you should crawl before you can walk, walk before you can run, look before you leap. On a Tuesday, it’s nice to push before you’re pushed. The Tuesday Push is a chance to shed the light on a company or service in Ireland, introducing those getting the push to the Irish blogosphere, tech readers, blog readers, tech journalists and the public at large. As the site itself says, it is “a way for the small but growing tech community in Ireland to make some noise about ourselves by picking a good example of an Irish Tech Company and highlighting their product(s) every second Tuesday”.

While it’s nice to see companies getting “the push”, it’s nicer still when they push back. It’s all about the community involvement. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. Or in this case, it’s technology startups in Ireland helping each other out. Since it’s launch last year I’ve managed to push a few of the names including Twitter Mosaic (Sxoop), DownloadMusic.ie, IGOpeople to name a few.

One of the great things about the growing tech community in Ireland is just that, the community. The spirit is seen in blogs, comments, through Twitter, LinkedIn, referrals, BarCamps, PodCamps, BizCamps, CreativeCamps and the likes. We’re great at helping each other out, which is why Tuesday Push is a great initiative for having the community highlight the rising stars within.

Of course, not everybody can get featured. The service in question has to be unique, has to be new, has to be different. Not sure what I mean? Check here for details.

I’ll keep on pushing where and when I can. Maybe some day I’ll need a push with something. But I’ll keep pushing because it puts another mark on the map for Irish tech companies. And it’s not only me that’s doing it. Dozens of great posts have been written about the ten companies featured since last July, across dozens of blogs, who have hundreds of readers each… do the maths.

Request a Tuesday Push here.

Tuesday Push: Twitter Mosaic

Twitter. It’s a mug’s game. Or it’s just become one thanks to Twitter Mosaic.

Walter Higgins at Sxoop Technologies is making great great use of Twitter’s open API and is now combining it with Zazzle to create Twitter Mosaic to offer personalised goods based on avatars of your Twitter friends or followers.

For the end user, the process is a simple one.

  1. Go to sxoop.com/twitter and enter your username.
  2. Select the avatars you want to display on your product (clicking them will remove them)
  3. Select the type of product you want (bag, mug, tshirt, cards)
  4. Customise your final product and make a payment at the Zazzle store.

In my case, I’ve gone ahead and bought a Twitter Mosaic Mug, picking the slightly larger sized mug to help fuel my tea fix in the office during the day. In doing so I’ll have a hundred or so faces looking back at me as I enjoy every drop, with my @kenmcguire handle printed across the middle. The perk for me in the order is that I also won a £10 voucher Walter was giving away on Twitter yesterday. On the payment front you can use your credit / debit card or go down the PayPal route.

From what was seemingly just an idea in recent weeks, Walter and Sxoop have made another great step forward in generating revenue via Twitter.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to check out Pixenate, also from Sxoop.

You can also follow me on Twitter.

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 IGOpeople.com 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 IGOpeople.com, take a minute or two out of your day or evening and take a look for yourself. Best of luck to Campbell, http://www.igopeople.com/o/2-IGOpeople/people/10-David-Cotter 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!)

Tuesday Push For DownloadMusic.ie

DownloadMusic.ie

It’s about time I offered up a post for the Tuesday Push and I’m happy to see my first one being for DownloadMusic.ie.

With almost 900 artists on the books and close on 45,000 legal music downloads – which, by the way, contribute to standings in the Irish music charts – DownloadMusic.ie has become the place to be seen for independent Irish acts looking to make any kind of a name for themselves.

I’ll admit, I’ve never purchased music from the site. However, I use the site from the other side, as an artist and promoter helping other acts to get online and start selling their music.

While anyone can go online and purchase music via credit card or online payment, it’s nice to see DownloadMusic.ie give bands the chance to sell their music via text message. In a mobile-hungry country where mobile handset saturation exceeds 100% (I know myself I’ve got three active handsets on three different numbers with two spare handsets just in case), the service seems ideal. We are a texting nation. We’re possibly there-or-there abouts for phone calls, but we’re certainly there for texting.

Texting is where it’s at for DownloadMusic.ie. Fans of the bands can send a short code to 57501 e.g. ‘music XYZ’. They’ll be charged just a Euro for the text with the revenue split between the operator, DownloadMusic.ie (DownloadMusic.ie don’t actually take any money, leaving more to the artist again), the bulk going to the band (yes, IMRO are in there too looking for their percentage if you’re IMRO registered). The result is a text link and password for a secure download area to grab your new track and in the process of doing so you’re helping a band move one step closer to inclusion in the national music charts.

There’s no doubt that the majority of acts I work with through KilkennyMusic.com and under the One Take Sessions gig series have a presence on DownloadMusic.ie. Vesta Varro (were due in Kilkenny on Saturday), currently touring in support of new single ‘Believe’ are the featured artist on the DownloadMusic.ie homepage.

Local favourites Saving J, Myp Et Jeep and The Fundamentals are there too. At the last One Take Sessions in Kilkenny, Carlow performer Joe Cleere made a great point of asking people to text his shortcode to the DownloadMusic.ie number (57501) to buy his new single ‘Queue’.

CDs at gigs will shortly become a thing of the past. Further proof to this is the relase of DownloadMusic.ie’s first USB album (I was on the panel of judges asked to select the acts for inclusion), which is also registered for the Irish music charts and features the likes of Dirty Epics, Vesta Varro, Ro Tierney, Codes and more – €12.99 for a 1gb USB key with 15 tracks included isn’t a bad deal at all.

But you can get so much more – browse artists, get gig listings, check out the DownloadMusic.ie blog and there’s also the future possibility of bands selling tickets for gigs, band merch and more.

DownloadMusic.ie is an absolute credit to the independent Irish music scene and long may the service continue.