After a white Christmas and a chilly start to the New Year the GWS team have had a productive first week back in the office. 

December snow in Bristol (via The Telegraph)

 

We’ve recently gone live with two sites – one for a Bristol Cummins service dealer and another for a local couriers providing a service to clients across the UK.

We’ve also been working on a revised website for a national UK property school which helps anyone looking to invest in property and secure their financial future.

 

Social media and small business news

Mashable has rounded up web and social media predictions from its editors and contributing writers for 2011 – click here to see the forecasts on subjects including social networks, news media and e-book publishing.

Ivan Walsh describes the subtle difference between authentic and real when it comes to blogging – and why authenticity matters.

His article raises an important concern that the race to be more authentic may be an indirect way to manipulate readers into trusting you.

What do you think? And for those still unsure about whether to start blogging, here are some reasons to get involved.

Facebook has announced that over the New Year weekend a record-breaking 750 million photos were uploaded – yet another mind-blowing statistic from the social media phenomenon.

In the last year Facebook has added a number of updates to its photo feature, including ‘related photos’ (intended to increase photo exploration) and a ‘drag-and-drop’ tool.

Facebook's 'drag-and-drop' tool (via WebProNews)

 

BBC Business Reporter Will Smale provides insight into the prospects for small firms in 2011.

According to Russell Lawson, spokesman for the Federation of Small Businesses (FSBs), the government’s spending cuts mean that accessing affordable finance and winning public sector contracts will continue to be a concern for many SMEs in 2011.

 

Other stories

According to The Economist Google’s new electronic book shop, Google eBookstore, has ‘successfully reconciled all that consumers want from digital reads’.

A few small limitations to an otherwise comprehensive product mean that purchasers are ‘not quite free as a bird...but as unencumbered as one in a rather large aviary’. Nicely put!

Here at GWS we’re fascinated by this research into the unique set of frequencies that make up the sound of a choir.

We’re not too sure about the prospect of developing a synthetic choir though –we’d much rather listen to the real thing!

Another top find this week was this quirky selection of handcrafted city guides – an original alternative to the standard Lonely Planet / Rough Guide format.

Ripon Cathedral's choristers (via the BBC)

 

We were saddened to hear of the death of British actor Pete Postlethwaite who on Monday lost his long battle with cancer.

Described by Steven Spielberg as ‘the best actor in the world’, Postlethwaite had strong connections with Bristol and trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

He told the BBC in 2002 that ‘my experience with the Old Vic was when I started to feel and understand the power of theatre’.

We were also sorry to hear of the death of author Dick King-Smith, famous for his novel The Sheep-Pig which was adapted into the film hit Babe. Like Postlethwaite, King-Smith had strong ties to the South-West, living in a small village between Bristol and Bath.

And finally, in light of recent weather conditions in Europe and North America, check out this fascinating blizzard timelapse filmed in New York – 20 hours in 40 seconds!