Quick Interview – Olivia Solon from wired.co.uk

The Social Penguin Blog team are huge fans of Wired magazine and have been enjoying the well-informed tones of Online News Editor, Olivia Solon on the popular wired.co.uk podcasts. We took the opportunity to run a few questions past Olivia about her dream role at Wired. Read on for her answers…

Tell us a little about yourself, what is your role at Wired, how long have you been there etc?

I’m news editor of Wired.co.uk and have been there since July 2010. Prior to working at Wired I spent almost five years working in B2B media and marketing titles. However, having risen to an editor’s role at Cream,  I decided I wanted to change direction slightly so somehow managed to wheedle my way into working at Wired. It’s a publication that deals with so many of my interests – technology, science, design, entrepreneurship and, most importantly, robots.

You can currently be heard on the weekly wired.co.uk podcasts, are they proving a hit? How important do you see podcasts as a media form?

Olivia Solon

Olivia Solon of Wired.co.uk

The podcasts are a great success – we’ve recently been selected by Apple to be a staff favourite on the iTunes store and we are consistently in the top five gadget podcasts on iTunes. It’s a great way to bring the team live to the Wired.co.uk audience and it’s also really fun to put together. From a production perspective we’ve really streamlined it and each week Nate no longer has to spend hours chopping out the stumbles, giggles and swears.
We record from an Easy Living store cupboard that is filled from floor to ceiling with soft furnishings and nicknacks – ideal for the sound quality but it presents a grinding contrast to the subject matter of the Wired podcast.

You get to cover some fascinating stories from across tech, science, business and more, what has really caught your eye recently?

I’m really interested in startups and entrepreneurship, so initiatives like the Silicon Milkroundabout and the Web Mission are fascinating to write about. I also seem to have found a niche covering weird stories, for example the designer who created a five inch nose prosthetic nose stylus to navigate his iPhone when he’s in the bath, or the brain-controlled cat ears attached to a headband that wiggle depending on your brain activity. Finally, I am completely obsessed with robots and was fortunate enough to go to the Innorobo robotics conference a month or so ago and report on a wide range of different devices.

How important do you think the use of social media channels are for publications?

Social media is a vital tool in any publication’s armoury – not just for marketing content (although the likes of Twitter and Facebook are good traffic drivers), but as a wonderful feedback mechanism and for responding to readers’ queries. I personally love the way you can get a real time idea of how a story is being received.

The Wired UK magazine covers are a visual masterpiece, do you have a favourite?

Art director Andy Diprose and the rest of the team are so talented – it’s always such a treat to see what they come up with – every single page has elements that delight and surprise. I was a big fan of the trust issue that had scratch-off elements and the personalised privacy covers.

The magazine recently covered the ‘hook-up’ app Badoo, do you think the modern web is making life too easy for us all?

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. The web is a wonderful accelerator.

Many thanks to Olivia for taking the time to answer our questions. Be sure to listen to the great Wired.co.uk podcasts and devour the great content over on wired.co.uk.

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