Things I’ve been reading recently

In an attempt to get some of the things I find interesting out of my head and into my blog I’m sharing links to stuff I’ve stumbled on this week that has made me think…

There is too much talk and not enough action in the charity sector – Simon Burne, The Guardian Voluntary Sector Network

Simon talks about a culture of risk-aversion, looking inwards and being afraid of innovation within charity fundraising:

“We should learn from the fast-moving consumer goods (products that are sold quickly and at relatively low cost) sector. Those companies expect up to 90% of product tests to fail, but they make a mint on the other 10%. I know of few charities that are even happy with a 10% failure rate. Low failure rates tend to lead to low success rates.”

This article chimes with my experience of students’ unions sometimes. Within the sector (I refuse to call it ‘the student movement’ (or worse just ‘the movement’) as it sounds too much like bowel movements) there are definitely cool innovative things going on and people prepared to try new things but I feel there is also a great amount of fear of breaking away from the traditional model of students’ unions and the things they’ve always done.

I’ve been mulling over this topic for a while and mentally drafting a blog post on it so hopefully I’ll get it out of my head and onto my blog at some point…

My year at a standing desk and why I’ll never go back – Cia Bernales, Fast Company

I’ve long been considering trying a standing desk at work. I spent 99.9% of my day (approximately) sitting down which isn’t good for you but the palaver of getting the right set-up and not wanting to give my colleagues more reasons to mock me (we’re a very friendly bunch who are very comfortable with winding each other up!) means I’ve never got round to it.

We recently rearranged the furniture in our office so now I have a little more flexibility to adapt my desk for working standing up sometimes. My current plan is to wangle flexible monitor arms and something to put my mouse and keyboard on and give it a try. I’m not quite hardcore enough for a treadmill desk (yet) though!

Why Custom Audience targeting proves that email has won the internet – Parry Malm, Econsultancy

An overview of how you can upload email lists to platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to target your advertising. The article opens by comparing an email address to a passport which gives you access to other online services. This is something I’ve found missing from ‘omg email is dead’ discussions – most of the services pointed to as replacing email still require an email address to sign up. I appreciate this doesn’t mean people check their email accounts or use them to send/emails but email addresses at least are still at the heart of many chunks of the internet.

Handling prison visit requests: the inside story – Leigh Money, MOJ Digital blog

A great case study of switching to a digital process in the prison service. I’m going to be talking to all of my colleagues soon about the exciting prospects and tangible benefits that digital can bring and this is a great example to refer to. This post outlines the benefits of switching to a digital system as well as the importance of a successful transition.

Oops! 7 Awkward (But Common) Grammar Mistakes – Lisa Toner, HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing blog

Yes I love good grammar. Love it.

Webinar 24/04/14: Leading the digital business revolution – Brilliant Noise

This webinar will focus on “what it takes to be a customer-first, digital business, the barriers that prevent organisations from changing, and what role you can play in leading the digital business revolution” aka ‘loads of the things I’m interested in at the moment’. I won’t be able to follow this as I’ll be at BrightonSEO but I’m hoping to be able to catch up afterwards.

April 13th, 2014|Lots of links|0 Comments|

Things I’ve been reading recently

In an attempt to get some of the things I find interesting out of my head and into my blog I thought I’d share some links on a semi-regular basis.

I’d love to see what you’ve been reading and pondering so feel free to leave some suggestions in the comments or tweet them to me – @jowalters.

These links come largely from my Feedly saved items. You can read more about some of the blogs I subscribe to in my earlier post and see more of the things I’m bookmarking at

What’s a Playbook and why do I need one? – Kim Townend, Government Design Service Social Media blog

The team have released an alpha version of their guide outlining how and why they use various social media channels with lots of useful tools and insights.

Seven useful tips to help with your mobile copywriting – David Moth, Econsultancy

Most of these tips actually apply to writing on the web regardless of platform but show that writing mobile requires special consideration. As I’m going to be running training on writing for the web again soon I’ll be making sure I’m covering these points.

Inside a service manager’s head – Giles Turnbull, Government Digital Service blog

Yes it’s another GDS post but a) I love them, and b) I subscribed to even more of their feeds last week so I’m catching up on things! This post talks about moving to digital from paper, working within guidelines and various other things that I’ll be doing at work in my new role as Digital Engagement Manager so it is interesting to see how other organisations handle it.

Five simple ideas for free content curation on Twitter – Ben Davis, Econsultancy

Ideas for content sources including Spotify playlists which I’ve found these work well, both sharing existing playlists and asking for contributions to themed collaborative lists.

This column will change your life: interestingness v truth – Oliver Burkeman, The Guardian

“A theorist is considered great, not because his theories are true, but because they are interesting.” Even in the world of academia, most people aren’t motivated by the truth. What they want, above all, is not to be bored.”

This article – from a regular column I find interesting (and hopefully truthful) – reminds me of one of my favourite quotes from ‘Made to Stick: Why some ideas take hold and others come unstuck‘; “An accurate but useless idea is still useless”. I’m not advocating misinformation or inaccuracy but sometimes we lose the human factor which makes something interesting in the pursuit of complete (and sometimes boring) accuracy.

Vintage sexism: 20 things men don’t like about women in the office – Maya, Feministing


On that note I’m off to offer some impudent criticism and ask impertinent questions!