Some exciting news


After nearly six interesting and challenging years at Guardian News and Media, most recently as Head of Digital Engagement, I’m striking out on my own, moving on to do independent consulting & project work in the areas of digital engagement, social strategies, product innovation, community practice and creative collaboration.

As you may know, I’ve been working in this broad area for over fifteen years now as practitioner, strategist and academic, with a range of big-name brands, non-profits and startups, but my curiosity and passion for it has endured and even intensified as technologies, media and societies continue to evolve.

So from the start of 2013, I’ll be raring to get my teeth into fresh challenges. In the meantime, I’m starting conversations with interested parties, partners, collaborators and companies throughout the autumn and winter.

If you or your employer think that sounds interesting, or you think you have a project which needs a Meg, get in touch! I’m contactable via this website, LinkedIn or Twitter: @megpickard.

Exciting times!


Nifty bookmarklet to make web pages easier on the eye

Can’t remember if I’ve posted this before, but even if so, it bears repeating.

I find it hard to read white/pale text on dark/black backgrounds online (it triggers occular migraines), so some sites are painful to read and end up being a victim of the back button (even MetaFilter can fall into this category).

If you, like me, find some sites use of negative contrast hard on the eyes, here’s a possible solution.

Short version: Drag this bookmarklet to the bookmark bar of your browser:


Longer version: Copy and paste (and adapt, if you want to change the colours) the following into the address field of a new bookmark, then drag it to your bookmark bar.

javascript:(function(){var newSS, styles=’* { background: white ! important; color: black !important } :link, :link * { color: #0000EE !important } :visited, :visited * { color: #551A8B !important }’; if(document.createStyleSheet) { document.createStyleSheet(%22javascript:’%22+styles+%22’%22); } else { newSS=document.createElement(‘link’); newSS.rel=’stylesheet’; newSS.href=’data:text/css,’+escape(styles); document.getElementsByTagName(%22head%22)[0].appendChild(newSS); } })();

Whenever you get to a page which is designed in high negative contrast (pale text on dark bg), simply hit the Nifty! bookmarklet button on your browser toolbar, and the page will magically change into something more soothing on the peepers.

For example, it turns this:

Into this:

(The original link above is this page from the BBC College of Journalism blog, which I find interesting in terms of content, but unreadable in terms of design)

Another example from this MeFi post:


The power of ten

I missed the actual tenth birthday of this blog/me blogging but I can’t let a milestone like that go unmarked, can I?


Originally started as a place to store and share links, this blog gradually became a place to playfully interact with the world, and over time that turned from introspection to exploration of the world, media, experiences and ideas. I don’t think I’m alone in that kind of journey with blogs.

I am immensely (unreasonably, perhaps even pathetically) proud of having been blogging for so long. I can say confidently that I was in at the beginning, when all this were fields. I was here before many of you young whippersnappers who have gone on to eclipse me, and blogging, and the web entirely in their success and influence. I don’t put my early involvement down to canny prescience about the way the web was turning so much as an inevitability given my proclivity for tinkering with web things, my early academic and personal interest in communicating online and my inability to shut up. Blogging and me; it was only a matter of time and technology before we found each other.

I was there. I remember the start, and the hype, popularisation, commercialisation and ubiquitisation which followed. I couldn’t possibly have known it at the time, but my blogging was to introduce me to dozens of interesting people, influence others to start doing it too, cause interesting opportunities (and worrying situations) to develop. Blogging has become part of what I am, what I do. I blog now for the same reasons I did in early 2000: because I can’t not tinker with and publish to the web.

Ten years ago, I was embarrassed to mention having a blog in polite company, because it was so difficult to understand – not just what but why. These days, even both my parents have blogs. It’s not a weird niche oddball geek thing anymore. It’s so normal it’s almost passé. Good.