Russell Davies
Russell Davies
A view from Russell Davies

Russell Davies: A columnist's job is to be switched on at all times these days

Believe it or not, this week's column is a request. Yes, folks: I'm like a wedding DJ - I do requests.

A correspondent wrote to ask where I get the ideas and inspiration that lead to this column every week. So here are 400 words of answer.

First of all, you can't beat good old- fashioned RSS. According to my reader, I subscribe to 765 blogs and feeds, and I check that every day.

Of course, that doesn't mean there are 765 things to read every day: sometimes there's more, sometimes there's less, and sometimes "reading" means glancing at a headline and moving on.

But I always enjoy that feeling of switching on a firehose to the web: full-on connection to what's going on in the world. In my head (though not in reality), they're divided into categories such as art, music, friends, journalism, oddness, technology, science and media.

I don't follow many marketing and advertising blogs any more. I assume you'll get that stuff somewhere else - I think my role is to look a little further afield.

Plus, any advertising or marketing news that makes it into my filter bubble is then doubly worth considering because it has broken through into another cultural sphere.

Once I've found something that might come in handy, I save it to and tag it with "campaign" and whatever might be useful to find it again. (You can see what I'm considering by going to

A decent article is normally the collision of two or three of these stories - something that indicates a bigger picture. Pinboard is a lovely service that describes itself as "social bookmarking for introverts". It's like Delicious, which I'm sure you'll all know, but it's not at the whim of a capricious corporate parent like Delicious. And it's a paid-for service that gives you more confidence that your data will be well looked after.

Anything more than a few hundred words will also probably get saved to Instapaper as well, so I can read it at my leisure. (And it's always nice to have some backups built into your workflow.)

But my favourite tool of late is a web service called Stellar ( It lets you follow your friends and others on various social networks and shows you what they have "favourited" on sites such as Vimeo, YouTube, Flickr and Twitter. It's the perfect way to see what's popular or interesting on your bit of the social web. It's still in private beta at the moment, but you should be able to get an invite with a shout on Twitter or just by requesting one from the site. It's highly recommended.

And that's it. Any more requests?