University of Limerick alumnus and blogger Martin Meany is on a mission to make the world of technology more accessible for the people of Ireland.
Blogging about technology might not seem a likely fit for an academic with a background in history and English, but Kilkenny man Martin Meany of Goos3D.ie says that his interest in gadgets goes way back.
“My dad got our first computer when I was only about four or five years old,” he recalls. “We were one of the first houses in the parish to have a computer and I remember playing games on it; breaking it, fixing it…that’s really where my love of technology started.”
It was while working at Carphone Warehouse after completing his Masters in history that the idea to start the blog came to him. “We were getting the same questions from people day in, day out about really simple technological things. I got the sense that the general public in Ireland was starting to become more tech-savvy but didn’t really have a place to turn to online with questions that were specifically Irish.” Goos3D was born out of this void, and now, four years on, it’s a five-man operation with Jon Harrison, Dean Ahern, Neal Breen and Gary Cronin also on board.
Describing the blog as a ‘second full-time job,’ Martin says that the team has a quality-over-quantity approach when it comes to producing content. “We try to keep it to a few posts a week; we don’t just write for the sake of it. The stuff we’re writing about isn’t necessarily time-sensitive—we do a lot of how-to guides for example.” Estimating that Ireland is anywhere from three to five years behind the US when it comes to acquiring the latest gadgets, he notes that one of the blog’s most popular posts is on how to buy the Amazon Echo. When it comes to the next big thing, Martin predicts that voice assistants are going to be huge in Ireland over the next few years, noting that a recent Google survey found that 20 per cent of all searches are by voice.
Being able to help empower the Irish public when it comes to technology, he says, is incredibly rewarding.
“We once got a message from a guy saying that he’d bought an Amazon Echo six months ago but that it was just sitting in a drawer because he had no idea how to work it. We were able to guide him through it and he was delighted – he’s gotten back to us a few times since just to thank us and let us know it’s still up and running!”
You have to be prepared to get your hands dirty and learn a lot of new skills, and you have to thoroughly research your brand.
To any bloggers starting out, Martin has a few words of advice. “First of all, decide whether you want it to just be a hobby or if you’d like it to grow into something bigger.
If it’s something you’d eventually love to do full-time, social media and SEO (search engine optimisation) are hugely important – if you can’t be found on Google you won’t be able to grow. You have to be prepared to get your hands dirty and learn a lot of new skills, and you have to thoroughly research your brand. If you want to monetise your blog, you have to be prepared to make some sacrifices. For example, we’ve decided not to have display ads as they’re distracting to the reader – that’s one area of monetisation gone straight away. Being able to make money without sacrificing quality is one of the biggest challenges bloggers face.”
Lastly, if you were wondering about the significance behind the blog’s name, Martin explains with a laugh that it’s derived from a colloquialism one of his co-workers at Carphone Warehouse used. “Instead of saying someone’s phone was broken, he’d say it was ‘goosed.’ That spelling was already taken though, so I added a 3 in. I came up with it in the space of two seconds and sort of regret it now, but it is what it is!”