Britrock Blog

Just another Brit in New York City

Archive for May, 2009

My Introduction

Posted by Britrock on May 26, 2009

When a search for “How to construct, edit and maintain a blog with multiple topics ranging from Brit-rock music to English football, from social media marketing and public relations to consumer tech, Apple iPhone apps and other stuff that happens in my life?” failed to yield the perfect resource for putting together this blog, I decided to make it up. My blog will not be a hyper-focused series of articles on one topic for that wouldn’t be the authentic Philip. With interests that cut across many aspects of life I’ll attempt to capture the elements I, and hopefully anyone reading these pieces, will also find interesting and valuable.

The “About” section of this blog will capture a little about me and what this blog will cover, however, I’m going to introduce myself and elements of what make me – Philip Robertson in this post. I’m a Brit, born in Edinburgh, Scotland who moved to England when I was very young. No, I don’t have a Scottish accent, in fact my only recognizable Scottish trait is my translucent skin which adopts in a marvelous palate of reds and pinks during the summer months as my skin cooks like shrimp. My formative years were spent on the south coast of England in and around the town of Alresford, Hampshire, the surrounding towns, villages and cities amid the green countryside.

Five years were spent in London working in public relation’s agencies, enjoying the indie-rock music scene in addition to exploring different cities throughout Europe. Which brings us upto the present and my life in New York where I’ve spent eight good years, working in marketing communications roles with public relations agencies and in marketing departments of companies.

Living in New York City has afforded me the opportunity to visit more than half the states in America, elation, confusion, fear… sorry, I probably should have introduced my random bouts of odd humor earlier in this piece. Bear with me, it will become easier to understand.

New York City is my current home and feels like a hub to me. Its a place trade, art, music, fashion etc, etc, visits if not begins in some instances, which provides opportunity to experience a wide variety of ..well.. differing experiences of pretty much everything. Touring bands stop in New York, usually only the better or more established UK acts to whit I’m largely influenced. And occasionally a band will  begin their fledgling music career in one of the smaller venues and I”ll get to see it.

Benzos at Rothko

Benzos at Rothko

Tradeshows and summits frequently take place here bringing a rich diversity of industry. Professionals, companies and people needing attention flock to New York City to seek the rapture of the influencers and column inches or time on screen. And the people of every nation live here adding flavor, flavour or ‘flavah’ depending on which part of the city I or they are passing through.

This is my justification for writing about many unrelated and different topics. I hope you enjoy them, comment section is open and there are multiple ways listed on how to contact me more personally. Oh, and if you must post spam for male enhancement products etc or other freebies please consider whether adding more of me or my offspring to this planet is really what you want for this planet.

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Is Plaxo relevant anymore?

Posted by Britrock on May 26, 2009

Plaxo Facebook Connect Promo Email

Plaxo Facebook Connect Promo Email

“Link your Plaxo and Facebook accounts (and get more out of both)” the header of the email I received today from Plaxo. Is that truly what I want or need? More importantly is it what my friends and contacts on both Facebook and Plaxo need? By allowing Facebook to connect with my Plaxo profile I could inadvertently create even more noise in the already crowded social media space and burn more contacts by flooding them with surplus or repeated information.

When I first signed up for Plaxo in approximately 2003 it was an online storage depository for my contacts that would allow my contacts to update their own details whenever they moved house, changed job or bought a new phone number. At some stage Plaxo repositioned itself to become a challenger to LinkedIn, a networking site for business people. Including OpenSocial was a good step to making it easier to sign-in to my Plaxo account with my Yahoo ID, especially when considering its formerly complicated password retrieval system. Plaxo Pulse’s introduction in 2007 allowed users to provide updates on their online activity of other sites. Since Plaxo’s purchase by Comcast in July 2008 there have been no press releases and few update communications from the company. There were murmerings that Facebook was looking to acquire Plaxo not so long ago. With this announcement today the site appears to exist in a slightly murkier realm sub-Facebook and competing with FriendFeed.

FriendFeed aggregates content from multiple social media sources including Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube etc, and allows the user to organize the feeds of information into groups that communicate e.g. marketing experts, friends, work colleagues, friends that follow the same sports teams, fans of Coldplay that can put up with Chris’ voice etc. Plaxo Pulse held the upperhand with social media site aggregation being two years ahead of FriendFeed but today I don’t know what value it offers to me- an average consumer of social media trends and online applications.

What does Plaxo allow me to do that adds more value than LinkedIn, my business social networks or FriendFeed where I aggregate my social media streams or Facebook where my online friendship network lives? Is it just another way to lose friends online? Is it a faster way to get fired? Either way, I’m using a lot of tools to manage my online life. Maybe its time to cut back on a few.

Paxo - sage and onion chicken stuffing, not to be used with your PC or Mac.

Paxo - sage and onion chicken stuffing, not to be used with your PC or Mac.

Post script: For those British fellows not familiar with online networking and social media, reassured that Paxo, the sage and onion chicken seasoning amd stuffing will always be relevant.

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Thoughts on the demise of Southampton Football Club

Posted by Britrock on May 12, 2009

Having just watched Manchester United beat a poor Hull City side in the English Premier League’s final round of games and by quirk of fate seal their status in the top flight of English football, I’ve begun to reflect on the demise of the team I’ve supported through think and mainly thin – Southampton Football Club.

Although I live in NYC, I take every opportunity I’m able to seek out the fortunes of the Saints via supporters forums online, Internet radio, my iPhone, televised highlights on my computer or TV through Fox Soccer Channel, a random game on Setanta or a visit to the club every trip home to England. However its difficult to describe affection for what losing this connection to a football club means without coming across as cliched or worse a poor imitation of Nick Hornby.

As a young lad, I grew up in the South of England and at the age of eight I found my interest in football growing and the need for a team to support and players to idolise. Generally accepted wisdom suggests that football teams are chosen by a combination of factors that include the closest team to where you live(d), who your parents supported and who was popular at the time. My closest team by geography was Southampton Football Club, an underdog if ever there was one, and I was lucky enough to attend a few games at The Dell with friends. In 1976 the club won its greatest honour the FA Cup, sadly I was three years old and living in Edinburgh, Scotland at the time. By 1982, Southampton’s best finish in the top flight of English football – second place, I had my first replica kit and my dedication was cemented.

Saints fan - 1982

Southampton have been on a downward rollercoaster ever since, with moments of snatched glory and marginal highlights glimmering through including an FA Cup final appearance against Arsenal in 2003, a 6-3 victory over Manchester United in a Premier League game, dramatic escapes from relegation and inspired individual performances on the pitch from players like Matt Le Tissier. The following BBC slideshow BBC’s slideshow captures many of the highs and lows of Saints demise. Off the pitch the club moved from The Dell, one of the coziest grounds to a legitimate full sized stadium St Mary’s, sold many of its best players and struggled with financial and boardroom challenges.

Regardless of how the club has performed or where I’ve lived my allegiance has never wavered, meaning I’ve sat through and by accounts forced friends and girlfriends to experience watching Southampton lose on TV in grimy, smelly bars all over New York City. Some have even had the pleasure of watching Saints in England and taste the gastronomic dirge that is steak and kidney pie. Relegation to the Championship tested my patience as even fewer Saints games were televised in the U.S. leaving me to huddle over a computer to listen to Internet radio commentary of games we invariably lost.

Regardless of the misery Southampton Football Club have helped me endure, I’d prefer not to lose this constant relationship. Part of my English being, personality and connection to the motherland is maintained through the Saints. I’ve moved away from home, changed job, immigrated country, married, divorced, loved musical groups and then despised them but the one true constant is my football club allegiance.

Through poor performance on the pitch last season the club finds themselves relegated to League One, the third level of English football, and face a ten point deduction for falling into a state of not being able to pay wage bills or other outstanding debts. If Saints do exist next season in League One playing the likes of Millwall, Yeovil and Exeter my trips home to watch games will be less than glamorous… there will be no David Beckham’s for my girlfriend to watch. Most importantly the club needs to be rebuilt from the boardroom down, living within our means and building up and out of League One, without being tempted to look beyond our capabilities. I’d love to see the club receive new ownership, although why anyone would invest in a football club is beyond me with even Manchester United in debt to the tune of millions of pounds.

Financial mismanagement has led the club to the brink of not existing for a “next season” at all. Without a new investor the club will be effectively bankrupt. Meaning the club will be extinct. The will be no more Southampton Football Club to waste countless hours and money over, and rather dramatically part of me would no longer exist either. Without a football club at all how much would I change for better or worse. Personally I hope I only ever have to contemplate the awful prospect and never actually deal with it. To the fans of Newcastle United, Middlesborough and West Bromwich Albion think on to a next season. To my Saints supporting brethren – fingers crossed we’ll have a next season.

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